Sealing Molars: Five Benefits for Your Child

We all want our kids to have perfect teeth, but few can maintain them without some help. Sealing molars is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to protect your child's teeth, for several reasons.

1. Early Application

Sealants can be applied to the molars and premolars at a young age, soon after the permanent teeth erupt. This usually occurs between the ages of 5 and 7 years when the first permanent molars erupt, or between the ages of 11 and 14 when the second permanent molars arrive, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dental sealants are quick, painless and easy to apply, and they protect the teeth early in your child's life before they've begun to sustain natural wear from years of use.

2. Seals Pits and Fissures

Many people with otherwise healthy teeth have grooves and hollows on the surfaces of their back teeth, which help to grind food for the purposes of digestion. Sealing these molars helps by smoothing out these pits and fissures, making it difficult for food to stick and cause decay.

3. Avoids Plaque Buildup

When you don't seal your child's molars, the food particles that attach to these teeth are often difficult to remove through typical home care. Any missed particles can result in the development and buildup of plaque on and between the surfaces of their teeth. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms in your mouth. Not only can you protect the surfaces of the back teeth with sealants, but the material responds well when rinsing with mouthwashes such as Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield, which has antibacterial properties to remove any missed particles that continue to form plaque.

4. Prevents Oral Disease

Molar sealants act as a barrier to protect the enamel from plaque and acids, as explained by the American Dental Association (ADA). Plaque contains bacteria, which accumulates over time and can result in multiple problems. These include:

  • Gingivitis or early gum disease
  • Destruction of the tooth enamel
  • Development of cavities
  • Advanced periodontitis, which breaks down gum tissue and underlying bone

Although oral disease can be stopped in its tracks, it can't be reversed. By sealing molars and premolars soon after they erupt, however, you can prevent the occurrence of oral disease at its root cause.

5. Ensures Better Dental Health

It's never too early to encourage good dental care in your child, but you have to play your part, too. Don't wait for problems to develop; have your child's molars and premolars checked out as soon as they erupt. Your dentist can determine whether pits and fissures exist, and if they increase your child's risk for dental caries. If so, sealing molars and premolars before any problems arise is the best way to ensure the protection of your child's lifelong dental health.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What to Expect During a SEALANT Procedure

Placing dental sealants is usually painless and doesn't require drilling or numbing medications.

  1. Tooth preparation – first, the dental hygienist will polish the surface of the tooth to remove plaque and food debris from the pit and fissure surfaces. Next the hygienist will isolate and dry the tooth. Then the hygienist will etch the surface of the tooth, rinse off the etching material and dry the tooth.

  2. Sealant application – the hygienist will apply the dental sealant material to the surface of the tooth with a brush; a self-curing light will be used for about 30 seconds to bond the sealant to the tooth surface.

  3. Evaluation – finally, the dental hygienist and dentist will evaluate the dental sealant and check its occlusion. Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.