What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars or back teeth. Most tooth decay in children and teens happens in this area. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces and prevent decay.
Which teeth should be treated with sealants?
Permanent molars are the most likely to benefit from sealants. First molars usually erupt when a child is about 6 years old. Second molars appear at about age 12. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the molars have erupted, before the teeth have a chance to decay. For that reason, students in grades 2 and 6 are the best target group for sealants, but children between the ages of five and fifteen may receive them.
How are sealants applied?
Applying sealants does not require drilling of the teeth. It is an easy three-step process: A dentist or dental hygienist cleans the tooth with a special toothpaste. A cleansing liquid is put on a piece of cotton and rubbed gently on the tooth and then washed off. Finally, the sealant is painted on the tooth. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield on the tooth.
Are sealants visible? Will sealants make teeth feel different?
Sealants can be seen but only if you look closely. They can be clear or white or slightly tinted. They cannot be seen when a child smiles or talks. Like anything new that is placed in the mouth a child may feel the sealant with his or her tongue. Sealants, however, are very thin and only fill the pits and grooves of the molars.
How long will sealants last?
One sealant application can last for as long as five to ten years. In order for sealants to be effective, however it is important that they be applied properly. Sealants should be checked at dental visits and reapplied if they are no longer in place.
Jersey County Health Department – Dental Sealant Program
Jersey County Health Department has been working with Jersey CUSD #100 and Miles of Smiles, Ltd to provide dental sealants for eligible students in grades K-8. Clinics to apply dental sealants and provide dental exams are held yearly in the elementary and middle schools. Parents can register their children for the clinics by contacting the school nurse at their child’s school. For more information about the Dental Sealant Grant contact Jersey County Health Department at 618-498-9565.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health.