What are dental sealants?
A sealant is a clear filling material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth, the premolars and molars. The material bonds to the depressions and grooves of the back teeth. It forms a thin covering to seal out plaque and debris and decreases the risk of dental decay.
Sealants protect the chewing surfaces and serve as a barrier against tooth decay. To prevent cavities from forming between the teeth, flossing once a day and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is very important. Good oral hygiene at home and regular dental checkups along with professional teeth cleaning help fight tooth decay.
How are sealants applied?
It takes only one short visit and is quick and comfortable. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. The chewing surfaces are then conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then “painted” onto the tooth where a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden. We sometimes recommend sealants with nitrous oxide or laughing gas to help relax your child and help children who have a strong gag reflex.
How long do sealants last?
Research shows that sealants can last for many years and reduce the risk of cavities significantly thus protecting your child throughout the cavity-prone years. With good oral hygiene and healthy eating habits, sealants will last longer. We will check the sealants during routine dental visits and can recommend reapplication or repair when necessary.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities by helping the teeth gain minerals they have lost and make them more resistant to acid. A fluoride treatment in our office normally follows your child’s dental exam.