A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.
Reasons for sealants:
- Children and teenagers: As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
- Adults: Tooth surface with deep grooves or depressions.
- Baby teeth: Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
What do sealants involve?
- Sealants are easily applied by dental hygenists or dental assistants and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.
- The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry.
- A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves/depressions.
- Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.
- Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.