The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) receives an annual federal Maternal and Child Health block grant to fund a statewide dental sealant program. The program gives funding to health departments and other not-for-profit dental organizations that provide dental sealants and other preventive oral health services to low-income children.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth-the molars and premolars-to help protect them from decay (also known as a cavity). The plastic resin bonds into pits and fissures of chewing surfaces of back teeth. Sealants acts as a barrier to protect enamel from plaque and acids. ay
Why are dental sealants placed on teeth?
The chewing surfaces of molar and premolar teeth have grooves-also known as fissures-that make these surfaces more vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be very deep and narrow, making it very difficult to remove plaque and food debris with brushing alone.
Plaque and food accumulate in these hard to reach areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel of the tooth and can cause decay. Dental sealants provide an extra layer of protection by providing a smooth surface over the fissured areas on teeth.
When are dental sealants placed?
Sealants are typically placed when a child’s permanent teeth in the back-molars and premolars-erupt. A child’s first molars typically erupt between the ages of 6 and 7 years, second molars typically erupt between the ages of 12 and 13 years. First premolars (first bicuspid) erupt between the ages of 10-12 years and second premolars (second bicuspid) erupt between the ages of 11-13 years. Dental sealants are commonly placed on children; however, adults can also have dental sealants placed on a tooth that are at a high risk for decay that do not already have a filling placed.
Protect permanent teeth by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, cleaning between teeth with daily flossing or another interdental cleaner and scheduling regular dental visits.
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