If you’re wondering what dental sealants are, here’s a quick description:
Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Although thorough brushing and flossing can remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, they cannot always get into all the nooks and crannies of the back teeth to remove the food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas from tooth decay by “sealing out” plaque and food.
This is a way to protect children’s teeth as they learn how to properly care for them as they grow older. As we all know, they’re not always that careful about their own oral hygiene in the early years. This helps protect their molars and other teeth from tooth decay. There is also benefit for teens and adults, but children should get sealants as soon as their permanent molars and pre-molars come in. That protects them in their most cavity prone years – between the ages of 6-14.
So, how are sealants applied?
Well it’s easy and painless:
- First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
- An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
Sealants can last up to 10 years, but should be regularly checked for wear or chipping. If necessary, the sealant can be replace.
If you have any questions about dental sealants, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’d love to talk with you about them and answer your questions.