Sealants are used to provide extra protection to children’s teeth until they can master daily oral hygiene habits. Sealants provide a barrier that protects the teeth from bacteria that causes decay. Dental sealants are typically applied to the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars, or back teeth, which are most susceptible to decay. Sealants are a simple application which is painless and inexpensive especially when compared to the cost of repairing and filling cavities.
Dental Sealant Facts
- Dental sealants are made out of clear plastic material which is professionally applied to the back teeth to help prevent cavities.
- About 90% of tooth decay occurring in children is on the surfaces of teeth which has deep grooves and depressions (the pits and fissures). Sealants are very good at preventing tooth decay on these types of surfaces found on the back teeth.
- Children who are around six years of age will benefit from sealants, just about the time their first permanent molars start to become visible.
- In many cases, adults who are in a high-risk category for developing tooth decay may benefit from the use of dental sealants.
How are Sealants Applied?
A dentist can apply sealants simply. The teeth are cleaned and prepared for the sealant material. Teeth are prepped by using a mild solution that is similar in strength to lemon juice or vinegar. This slightly roughens the surface to help the sealant bond to it properly. Once the tooth is prepared, the acrylic sealant is applied to the tooth or teeth. The special sealant material flows into the depressions or grooves on a tooth and fills them in. It is then allowed to harden for about a minute at which time the tooth becomes “sealed” and bacteria cannot reach the grooves or pits in the teeth.