Dental sealants are a preventive oral health solution designed to protect the back teeth, namely molars and premolars, from tooth decay. These sealants are thin, clear, and plastic-like coatings that dentists apply to the grooves and pits of the chewing surfaces of teeth. These are areas that are more prone to cavities, as they are difficult to reach during regular brushing and flossing.
The dental sealant procedure is a quick and painless process. First, the teeth being sealed are cleaned and then dried. Next, an acidic gel is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to roughen them up. This allows the sealant to better adhere to the tooth. After the tooth is rinsed and dried, the sealant material is brushed onto the tooth and then hardened with a special light.
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children and teenagers as soon as their permanent molars come in, which is usually around age six. These teeth have deep grooves and pits that can trap food and bacteria, making them more susceptible to cavities. However, adults with deep grooves and pits may also benefit from sealants.
Sealants typically last between 5-10 years and are most effective when applied to teeth that have never had cavities before. Regular dental check-ups are recommended to monitor the sealants and ensure that they are still intact and protecting the teeth.
Overall, the application of dental sealants is a simple and effective way to prevent tooth decay and promote good oral health. Speak with your dentist to determine if sealants are right for you or your child.