Sealants are a preventive treatment consisting of thin layers of resin placed on the pits, fissures, and grooves of molars (your back teeth) to prevent decay on these surfaces. Even the best toothbrush cannot always keep these places clean, so by applying a protective sealant across the chewing surface, any bacteria or food debris can be brushed away.
The material used for sealants is similar to a plastic coating. It is thin and blends in with the natural color of the tooth.
Who are sealants appropriate for?
Most of the time, sealants are placed on the erupting permanent molars in children. These first and second sets of molars typically erupt around ages 6 and 12, although it can vary.
The application process
The entire process takes only a few minutes per tooth
Applying sealants is easy. There are no injections or uncomfortable procedures associated with the application process. To apply the sealant, the tooth is first gently conditioned, which opens up the pores of the enamel and aids in the retention process. The sealant material is then brushed directly onto the tooth and cured using a high-frequency dental light. The entire process takes only a few minutes per tooth.
How long do they last?
Sealants are not permanent restorations like fillings or crowns. Each sealant is just a protective layer over the tooth. They can potentially last as long as 13 years, although sticky food or candy can pull them off, so these should be avoided.
Because sealants will eventually break from constant use, they will need to be replaced over time. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure that they are still intact. If they become damaged, your teeth become susceptible to bacteria and decay, so any damage should be identified as early as possible.