What is a dental sealant?
Dental sealants consist of a liquid resin that hardens into a thin plastic material when brushed onto back molars. They are used to prevent plaque and bacteria build up that leads to decay. Sealants are essentially a protective shield that keeps the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the teeth safe from food and plaque. Often applied to the back teeth, these vulnerable areas that can benefit from sealants typically include both molars and premolars. Children and teenagers are great candidates to get sealants, as this can help protect their teeth through the cavity prone years of ages six to fourteen.
The process of applying sealants is quick and painless. First, the teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned. Then the teeth are dried, and cotton is put around the tooth to keep it dry. An acid solution is applied next, which will help the sealant bond. Then the teeth are cleaned and dried again. Finally, the sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel. The entire process only takes a few minutes for each tooth, yet the protection received from getting them often lasts for up to 2 years. Your dentist will check your sealants during routine visits, and replace sealants early if needed. Talk to your dentist about the best age to get sealants placed for your children or teenagers. Adults may also benefit from sealants if you have never previously had them, or it has been over 10 years since your sealants were placed.