A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the biting surface of premolars, molars and any deep grooves (called fissures and pits) of teeth. A sealant protects the tooth by creating a smooth, easy to clean surface and sealing deep grooves. More than 80% of dental decay starts in these deep crevices. Teeth with these conditions are difficult to clean and are very prone to decay.
Sealants will protect teeth from cavities for many years, but need to be examined for chipping and wear at regular dental visits.
- Children and teenagers – As soon as the 6 year molars (the first permanent back teeth) erupt or any time during the decay prone years of 5-16.
- Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep crevices and grooves.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are easily placed by your dental assistant or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.
The teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then kept dry by placing cotton rolls near the teeth. A special solution is placed to the outer surface to allow the sealant to bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully applied to the enamel surface to cover the deep depressions and grooves. Depending on the type of sealant used, the sealant will either harden with a special curing light or will cure automatically.
Regular dental visits, proper home care, and a nutrious diet will assist in the life of your new sealants.