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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

                                                                      1415 SAGE STREET ~ GERING, NEBRASKA 69341 
      Call: 308-436-3491           

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Brush, Floss, Paint

Sealants can shield your teeth from decay! 

Brushing two times a day

 Flossing once a day 

Paint...applying sealants .....

can help you hear us say "No cavities!" after a checkup

     "Placement of sealants..... typically produce a 60% reduction in decay on the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth of children"**

A dental sealant is a safe plastic like material that is painted on to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars) and acts like a physical barrier to help "seal out"  germs and food that cause tooth decay and destroy tooth structure.

18% of 2-4 year olds have tooth decay... by age 17, 78% of children will have experienced dental disease with 7% losing at least one permanent tooth. 88% of children cavities are pits and fissure cavities...fluoride is not as effective in this area as on the smooth tooth surfaces.  Tooth susceptibility to cavities remains the highest in molars.

Tooth structure is lost every time a tooth is filled or a filling is replaced, which occurs every 6-8 years.  Eight-four percent of cavities in 5 to 17 year olds are on tooth surfaces.

As long as the sealant remains intact, food particles and bacteria cannot penetrate through a sealant to cause decay.

Sealants are 100%  effective in reducing tooth decay as long as the sealants remain intact and will last for 15 years or longer with a good follow-up program. Sealants need to be repaired and restored to continue to be beneficial, however only 2-4% of all sealants placed need some form of repair over the lifetime of the tooth.  This repair usually occurs during the first year.# 

Sealants are a painless, effective, safe, easy to apply, long-lasting and cost effective treatment.

Children and teens ages 5 to 15 benefit most from dental sealants because molars erupt during this period.  However, less than 20% of children l5-17 have dental sealants.  

Sealants act as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

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They should be applied to newly erupted, permanent teeth in order to receive the greatest benefit for cavity prevention. 


6 year molars come in (one in each "quadrant" of the mouth: upper right, lower right, upper left, lower left) between 5-7 years of age.  These molars do NOT replace a baby tooth; they come in behind the last baby tooth Whatís so important about the 6-year molars? These teeth serve as  anchor teeth for the entire bite. It is usually the largest tooth, with the strongest roots, and has the broadest chewing surface. It also often has very deep and narrow grooves in the chewing surface. Frequently, children donít brush well at the age of 6, and the chewing surface rapidly decays


At age 12, the jaws have grown enough that another permanent tooth (the second molar) can come in behind the 6-year molars between the ages of 11-14 years of age.  If the 6 year molars have been decayed  and extracted than when the 12-year molars came in they will  tilt into the 6-year molarís vacant space and the entire bite was damaged.   


The greatest chance of decay occurs during the first year after the tooth has come in. 


Sealants should be applied if caries risk factors are present: poor oral hygiene, cariogenic diet, family history of cavities, low fluoride intake, history of cavities, medical issues like dry mouth or deep pit and fissures. 


It is never to late to apply sealants, as long as the teeth are free of decay and fillings.

Applying sealants to a great little helper!

6-year molars are a cornerstone of your child's bite
 Sealants are a cornerstone to protect and
save your child's bite.

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Teens and adults can benefit from sealants due to the fact that it is has been proved that 95% of all people will eventually have a cavity/cavities in the pits and/or grooves of their teeth.  For more on adult sealant: Adult Sealants.


Shows deep grooves that are normally found in molars that act as a food trap. Two-thirds of all cavities occur in these narrow pits and grooves of newly erupted teeth.

Shows sealant on tooth to protect the tooth surface from decay

(pictures courtesy of Heartland Dental Associates)

This plastic resin bonds INTO the depressions and grooves of teeth to help "seal" out decay!

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Why seal?

  1. Permanent molars (back teeth)  have deeper grooves and more than 85 % to 90% of tooth decay begins here.  These natural valleys make it harder to clean by brushing.  The enamel in these areas can also be thinner making them easier to destroy by germs to cause cavities.

  2. This area is small and very hard for a 6 year old to keep clean

  3. These permanent molars are the main chewing surfaces and so have the greatest exposure to foods and their residue

  4. The upper permanent molars do not have the advantage of salivary flow over them to help naturally clean them so plaque remains on their surfaces

  5. Toothbrush bristles bend and are too large to fit into these grooves             As you can see a single toothbrush bristle is too large to reach inside the fissure.

  6. These teeth are meant to last a lifetime and the natural tooth structure is much stronger than any filling material

  7. In newly erupted permanent teeth the pulp chamber which contains the nerves and blood vessels are very large and near the surface.   A filling here may risk the pulp being exposed and lead to a child's "root canal" or pulpotomy

  8. The bacteria in these grooves shed into the saliva exposing all of the other teeth to bacteria 

  9. The enamel of a young permanent tooth is still maturing for three years after it erupts, so it is very susceptible to decay

  10. Sealants can not only prevent cavities but can also arrest the progress of decay.

  11. Cost effective. Sealants cost less than half of what one silver filling cost! Sealants fee: $25.00/tooth   Filling fee: $60-$100/tooth  Pulpotomy: $75-100  Root canals $400-$600.  So putting sealants on now will save you money in the long run by avoiding fillings or crowns used to fix decayed teeth.

  12. Fluoride is effective on smooth tooth surface not the grooves of the teeth

  13. Healthy teeth can last a lifetime!

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There are no shots and this procedure is painless.

This procedure is done by:

  1. First preparing the tooth by thoroughly cleaning these teeth with air abrasion.  

  2. This "etching" material is placed for 10-15 sec. and than thoroughly rinsed off with water.  This etching solution kills any bacteria and makes the surface slightly rough to help the sealant adhere better.  

  3. The chewing surface is than dried, it is important to keep your tongue away from this area to keep the site as dry as possible.

  4. The wear-resistant tooth-colored material is carefully bonded into the grooves to "seal" the tooth and than harden with a curing light. Protective glasses are used to keep your eyes safe from the light.  When the sealant is applied, finger-like strands penetrate the pits and fissures of the tooth enamel to cover them.

  5. The sealant is carefully checked so you can eat normally.

Sealants placed to protect back molars
Sealants protect against cavities

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     Sealants need to be checked to make sure the seal is not chipped or broken at your 6 month recall appointment.  A broken seal will allow decay to develop in the grooves.

Sealants Home Care

    Thus armed with the tools of fluoride, dental visits twice a year, regular brushing, flossingeating a balanced diet, limiting the number of between-meal snacks and sealants can help you to eliminate dental decay!


Sealants and fluoride can protect your teeth from decay

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Risk Factors for Sealants

Children Risk Factors
Low Risk No new or incipient caries in the past year
Good oral hygiene
Regular dental visits
Moderate Risk One new, incipient or recurrent caries in the past year
Deep pits and fissure
High familial caries experience
History of pits and fissure caries
Early childhood caries
Frequent sugar exposure
Decreased salivary flow
Compromised oral hygiene
Irregular dental visits
Inadequate fluoride exposure
Treatment for braces
High Risk Two or more new or recurrent carious lesions in past year
Deep pits and fissure
Sibling or parents with high caries rate
History of pit and fissure caries
Early childhood caries
Frequent sugar exposures
Decreased salivary flow
Compromised oral hygiene#

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Of the restored or carious molars, significantly more were found in the mandible than in the maxilla. This longitudinal study showed that pit and fissure sealants, applied during childhood, have a long-lasting, caries-preventive effect.  International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 11 (6), 458-458

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research:
National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.

February 06, 2008

#Sealants..what a great idea! Detnal Equipment & Materials pg 64-66 April 2004

*Ms Flossy
~Healthy Teeth program.
** Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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