Tooth decay, also known as “cavities” are holes that form in teeth. Most tooth decay starts on back teeth because these teeth have many small gaps called "pits" and "fissures" where germs and food can hide. Teeth need protection from tooth decay.
Fluoride in water, toothpaste, and mouth rinse is great for the sides of the teeth, but the tops of teeth have tiny gaps and need special protection. Every day brushing and flossing help, but toothbrush bristles don't always fit into those tiny pits and fissures, and flossing only cleans the sides of the teeth.
To protect the tops of the teeth, ask your dentist about dental sealants. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted onto the top chewing surfaces of the back teeth. If your children get dental sealants, they may not have tooth decay or need fillings. You could have lower dental bills!
A dental sealant is a safe, plastic coating which keeps germs out of the back teeth by covering up their tiny hiding places. Sealants work and are easy to apply. There are no drills or needles involved!
A dentist or dental hygienist cleans your child's teeth before applying the sealant.
A special cleansing liquid is gently applied on the teeth and is washed off in a minute.
Finally, the sealant is painted on the teeth, and bonded to teeth with a special light. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.
You may want your child to get sealants at your family dentist's office. For those children who qualify, dental sealants are also available to some students in selected Texas schools. A parent or guardian needs to read, complete and sign the consent form, and have the child return the form to the teacher. Dental sealants will be applied during school hours to reduce the amount of classroom time that your child may miss. Sealants are safe and easy to apply and can help prevent most tooth decay.
General Eligibility Requirements - The school-based sealant program has specific requirements:
- Income: 185% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL); USDA guidelines for school free-lunch program
- Age: 18 years and younger
- Disability: Dental caries
- Citizenship: US/TX resident
- Qualifying Conditions: Poverty; area program serves
Remember, it's easy, and it's good for your child's dental health. Talk to your child's dentist about sealants or call your child's school to find out if the dental sealant program is offered there.
- Seal out tooth decay with dental sealants.
- Use fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste, and mouth rinse.
- Brush and floss everyday.
- Eat well balanced meals and healthy snacks.
- Have regular dental checkups.