Sealants, also referred to as dental sealants, consist of a plastic material that is placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from bacteria and acids that contribute to tooth decay.
How do sealants work?
Think of sealants as a protective coating for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet with leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth.
Who should get sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. In children, their first molars appear around the age of six, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are great candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
How are sealants applied?
It’s a quick and painless process. Our dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, the dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. The dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.
Can sealants be placed over cavities?
Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, the dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.
Are there any side effects?
With the exception of an allergy that may exist, there are no known side effects from sealants.
Call our office to schedule an appointment for you or your child’s treatment.