What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin layers that are applied to teeth that have grooves, pits or fissures to prevent cavities from forming. Dental sealants work by filling in crevices where harmful bacteria like to hide. The sealant material is similar to filling material that is used for cavities, but it is placed on the surface of the teeth with minimal tooth structure being removed.
The material gets applied as a liquid, so is able to seep in to grooves and difficult to reach areas, and is then hardened into place with the use of a light curing machine. Dental sealants can be used for any tooth that has a difficult to reach area and may be more susceptible to cavities. The most common teeth to be sealed are the biting surfaces of the back molars, as well as the pit that is common on the cheek side of the back lower molars.
Who can benefit from dental sealants?
People of all ages can benefit from dental sealants, including children and adults. Any tooth that has grooves or pits and may be susceptible to a cavity can benefit from having a dental sealant placed. Dental sealants are less expensive and less invasive than a dental filling. The best time to place dental sealants is for children when molars are just erupting, to prevent the teeth from getting cavities.
Dental sealant procedure
The teeth are first cleaned and polished to prepare for the procedure. Then, the teeth will be dried and an acid etch material will be placed on the surfaces receiving the sealants. The purpose of the acid etch is to create tiny notches in the tooth surface so the material will stick. The acid etch is left for 15-30 seconds and then rinsed away. The teeth are again dried, and the sealant material is placed. A light cure machine will be used to harden the sealants into place. Lastly, the bite will be checked and any rough or high spots will be adjusted. The procedure is extremely quick and painless, and is less expensive and intrusive than dental fillings. The best part is that they prevent cavities for you and your children!
If you have any questions about dental sealants, or believe you or your children are good candidates for dental sealants, please contact the office today to book an appointment.