Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
The sealant is applied onto the tooth enamel and bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, we will check the condition of the sealants and discuss reapplying them if necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, which makes it especially important to protect children’s teeth during these cavity prone years. Adults can also benefit from sealants.
Key ingredients in preventing tooth decay and maintaining a healthy mouth are:
- brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner
- eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks
- having regular dental visits
If you have any questions about Children’s Dentistry or Sealants, please call our office. We will be happy to help you.