What is a Sealant?
The biting surfaces of teeth have recesses where food often gets lodged, making them vulnerable to decay—especially the back teeth like the molars and premolars. For this reason, dentists place a thin, plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of teeth called sealants to “seal out” food and plaque, making them easier to clean and therefore preventing decay. The procedure is quick, simple, and painless, and it can help prevent tooth decay for a number of years. Of course, your dentist will monitor the condition of your sealants at every check-up.
How are sealants applied?
Before the sealant is applied, the tooth is cleaned and dried. Cotton balls are then placed around the tooth to keep the general area dry as well. An acid solution is placed on the enamel surface to roughen them, which helps bind the sealant to the teeth. Then the teeth are rinsed and dried, and cotton is applied again. Finally, the sealant is applied onto the tooth enamel. It then hardens naturally or with the aid of a curing light.
Are sealants right for you?
Children should get sealants as soon as their permanent molars and premolars come in, as the ages between 6 and 16 are very cavity prone years. In special cases, sealants can be applied to baby teeth if they have large grooves or depressions. Adults who are prone to decay may also be good candidates for sealants.