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Pit and Fissure Sealants

First permanent molars have deep grooves on their biting surfaces. Due to their depth, sticky sweet foods may get stuck in them and remain there for 30 or 40 minutes after the treat is finished. The enamel at the bottom of these grooves also tends to be very thin. Thus, they are often the first places where decay forms in the teeth. A permanent plastic layer is applied to the top of the back teeth to ‘waterproof’ them and seal out germs and sugar. This service is known as ‘dental sealants’. The success of the sealants depends mostly on the cooperation of the child when the sealants are done. Generally, only first permanent molars teeth are sealed. Children under the age of 6 are too young to cooperate in the process. All first permanent teeth can benefit. This includes 8 premolars and 8 molars.

After curing, the covering becomes a hard, thin layer covering the treated portions of the tooth. Despite the incredible pressures on teeth during chewing each day, dental sealants may remain effective for five years or longer, although sealants do wear naturally and may become damaged over time. The disadvantage is that after the wear and tear starts bacteria and food particles may eventually become entrapped under the dental sealants, and can thus cause decay in the very teeth intended to be protected.

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