WHAT ARE DENTAL SEALANTS?
Dental sealants are acting as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a plastic material, usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often
WHY ARE DENTAL SEALANTS PLACED ON TEETH?
The chewing surfaces of the teeth have grooves/fissures that make them weak to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush. Food and Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and fissure areas by providing a smooth surface.
WHEN ARE DENTAL SEALANTS PLACED?
The first dental sealant to be placed is usually on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth, once the chewing surface of the tooth has erupted completely beyond the gum. If the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of these teeth are sealed, the dental sealant will help protect the tooth.
AGE RANGES FOR SEALANT APPLICATION
- 3-4 years – primary molars
- 6-7 years – 1st permanent molars
- 11-13 years – 2nd permanent molars and premolars
HOW LONG DOES A DENTAL SEALANT LAST?
Dental sealants can last many years. If necessary, it is also possible to place a new dental sealant on the tooth.
HOW ARE SEALANTS APPLIED?
Applying sealant is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:
- First the teeth thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
- An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is then painted onto the chewing surface of teeth, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. A special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.