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 therefore very susceptible to decay.
Sealants create a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. They can protect the 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 six to sixteen.
Adults - Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and the child is cavity prone.
What Sealants Involve
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist. 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 or 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 preserve the life of your new sealants.