At around the age of six years old, most kids will experience the eruption of their first adult teeth. These first adult teeth are known as the first molars, they will begin to appear directly behind the furthest back baby teeth on both the lower and upper arch.
Having the first set of adult teeth is a great milestone in a child's life, but it also comes with a few concerns. Since these newly erupted teeth are located in the very back they are often neglected during the daily hygiene routine. In addition to this, these new set of adult molars (unlike the other types of teeth in the mouth, such as the incisors, canines and even premolars) tend to have deeper grooves/crevices that may trap food and bacteria, making it even more challenging to keep them clean.
Even if you were to thoroughly brush your child's teeth you'll find that oftentimes there are food particles that are still present in these grooves. This is mainly because toothbrush's bristles can't always reach deep into these grooves to thoroughly clean them. Luckily there are dental sealants that dental professionals can place into these grooves and crevices to help prevent cavities from forming in these precious teeth.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin coating of resin material that is placed into the grooves and crevices on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help protect them from cavities. These are typically done on children and young teenagers, but can also be done once you're an adult if your Dentist finds the need for them.
The purpose of sealants is to help prevent tooth decay on the chewing surface of the tooth, however the application of sealants doesn't guarantee that no cavities will ever form on the tooth where it was applied. Sealants require no dental anesthesia to be placed and tend to be white in color although they may be slightly yellowish.
Parents often ask two questions about sealants.
Do they last forever? or How long do they last?
Sealants are not permanent restorations, so they wont last forever! From experience I've noticed that most sealants last about 2 or 3 years, although I've seen many cases where they last much longer than that.
If you noticed that your child's sealant is missing after just a few months talk to your dentist. They might be able to replace the sealants free of charge.
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