Just like a topcoat protects your manicure, dental sealants shield kids’ smiles. Dentists recommend applying sealant as soon as a child’s permanent posterior molar teeth come in. This coats them in thin plastic layer to defend them against plaque. When we do our daily at-home dental routines, we only brush the surface of our teeth. Sealants add extra protection by filling in the nooks and crannies of our teeth so decay can’t invade.
Every person is different, but sealants can last for up to 10 years. Luckily chipped sealants aren’t even as upsetting as chipped nail polish. Often times, having a sealant chip is just part of the process.
Here are a few common instances that cause a sealant to chip:
• Immediately after application: Small sections of surplus sealant may come out during the few days following application. This is normal! And over the next 5-10 years, sealants will naturally break down. Here are some tips on what not to eat immediately after sealant application.
• Occasionally over time: Considering the exorbitant amounts of pressure back teeth experience from daily eating and chewing, it’s surprising sealants stay strong for so long!
Because sealants are applied to chewing teeth, bite patterns and teeth grinding play a part in how long they last. Though sealants don’t require a restricted diet, consumption of sticky and/or crunchy foods may shorten their longevity. Acidic food and drink like pasta sauce and soda can also cause coatings to break down faster.
Remember, their breakdown is natural and normal. And your child’s dental team will examine sealants during regular checkups. Don’t worry if portions have fallen out of place—the dentist and hygienist can reapply the missing pieces.
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