The purpose of sealants is to help protect permanent teeth from getting decay in the deep grooves. Generally children start getting their permanent molars around the age of 6, followed by 12 year molars and bicuspids between 10 and 12 years of age.
This procedure is different than a filling where actual decay is present. The chewing surfaces are coated with a thin, clear or tooth-colored plastic to prevent plaque and bacteria from getting down into areas where toothbrush bristles won’t fit.
Sealants can last 3-5 years as long as children aren’t chewing ice or eating hard or sticky candy.
When parents were growing up, children used to hate going through a fluoride treatment. Now children are more apt to tolerate this once dreaded procedure. The purpose of a fluoride is to give teeth a protective layer on the enamel of the tooth so that the bacteria and acids in the mouth don’t start cavities as easily. It can also help cut down on sensitivity.
Generally, children and teens from the ages of 4 to 18, should have a fluoride treatment at least once per year, but if they are cavity prone they can receive this twice per year. Sometimes adults who have other health issues benefit from fluorides as well. Especially when medications cause a dry mouth or acid reflex causes a higher rate of acid in the mouth. The new fluorides that have come out are painted on the teeth and brushed off at home 4-6 hours later. They come in different flavors and are more tooth colored, so they aren’t as noticeable. The advantages of this new type of fluoride (VARNISH) is that it stays in contact with the tooth longer so that the tooth can absorb more of its good qualities to help protect the tooth and also the children don’t have to wait to eat or drink after the procedure is completed.