Dental sealants are a thin, plastic film that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – the adult molars and premolars – to prevent tooth decay. They are easy and very quick to place.
They prevent bacteria and food from collecting in the natural deep grooves of young teeth. Sealants are rarely applied to baby teeth but can be done if requested by the parents. It is important to have the sealants applied as soon as the adult molars erupt. This will keep the teeth healthy and save you money on future fillings!
How are Sealants Applied?
Applying sealants is quite simple and may be done by the dentist or the dental hygienist. First, the teeth are cleaned. After the tooth is prepared, the sealant is painted onto the tooth. It flows into the pits and grooves and hardens in about 60 seconds. After sealing, bacteria cannot reach the pits and grooves, and therefore cannot cause decay. Applying sealants requires no drilling or removal of the tooth surface. Tooth structure is left intact – healthy teeth are protected from decay forming bacteria.
How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
A sealant application can last five years and often times even longer. Sealants should be checked regularly and reapplied when they appear to have worn off. Because teeth are most susceptible to decay when they are young, preventing decay during the first 5 to 14 years after a tooth erupts is critical.