Tooth Sealants refer to a coating which a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping to prevent the formation of tooth decay. In many cases, it is near impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves on their teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can't reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less chance that decay will start.
The longevity of sealants can vary. Sealants which have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, however, sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
Sealants are usually recommended to be placed on the permanent first and second molars. These are the teeth with the deepest pits and fissures. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Generally the procedure takes just one visit. Placing dental sealants can be a very easy process. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth where it is hardened with a special blue light. All normal activities can occur directly after the appointment.
It is just as important for your child to brush and floss their teeth. Sealants are only one part of the defensive plan against tooth decay.
Please visit the AAPD website for more information about sealants.