A dental sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the biting surface of back teeth to protect them from getting decay.
They are usually placed on the newly erupted molars of children’s teeth but are effective when placed on other teeth, including in some cases on adult’s teeth.
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Why Dental Sealants?
Children get their first set of molars around the age of 6 and the second set of molars around the age of 12.
The deep grooves (pits and fissures) of newly erupted teeth along with the inability of children to clean these areas properly make them a target for decay. Diet also plays a big role in the development of decay. Many foods are very “gummy” and will be retained in the deep grooves making them more susceptible to decay.
After placement, the dental sealants will fill in those deep pits and fissures so foods cannot “stick” in the grooves and can then be easily washed away.
How are sealants placed?
Sealants are easy to apply and require no anesthesia.
The tooth to be treated is first cleaned, dried and prepared to accept the sealant.
A thin layer of plastic material is then flowed into the pits and fissures.
A special light is used to harden the plastic, bonding it to the tooth.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants hold up well under the force of everyday chewing and may last five years or longer.
Although sealants do wear naturally, it is very important that regular dental checkups be maintained because sealants may become damaged over time.