Dental Sealants are a plastic layer usually placed on the chewing surface of permanent molars and premolars to prevent cavities. The top surfaces on permanent back teeth have deep grooves (pits and fissures) that are very small and make the tooth more susceptible to decay. A sealant is a preventative measure to help the chances of getting a cavity decrease substantially. Good oral hygiene is still needed, but a sealant helps you to be able to clean the tooth effectively at home with a toothbrush.
Dental Sealants are most commonly placed on children when their permanent back teeth have erupted above the gums. Baby teeth can also be sealed if they have deep grooves. Adults can also benefit from sealants, but most insurances only cover up to a certain age; Therefore, they are most commonly placed on children.
Placing Dental Sealants
Depending on the materials used, sealants can be clear, white or have some tooth colored tint. They are also only placed on teeth that have no present decay or filling.
- First the tooth is cleaned and dried. Usually cotton is placed around the tooth to make sure it remains dry.
- Then an etching material is applied (to make it easier for the sealants to stick to the tooth) and rinsed with water.
- After the tooth is dried again, the sealant material is placed and cured (hardened) with a light.
The process to place sealants is simple & pain free. They can last for many years and be a preventative tool in the fight against cavities. If you have any questions whether you or your child are in need of sealants, please let us know!