What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin coverings/coatings that are placed on external tooth surfaces to prevent cavities. Dental sealants are similar to dental fillings but differ in several ways. Dental sealants are used on healthy tooth surfaces where there is no decay present, and they are placed on top of the tooth surfaces, whereas fillings are placed after the decayed portion of the tooth is drilled away. Dental sealants are a great option to protect vulnerable areas of teeth from getting cavities.
When Are They Used?
- In younger patients, after the molars first erupt
- In teeth with deep grooves and pits that are difficult to clean out with a toothbrush
- For patients who aren’t brushing/flossing regularly at home
- For patients who are susceptible to cavities
- To prevent future cavities in cavity-prone patients
- In patients with a dry mouth who may be vulnerable to cavities
Where Are They Used?
The most common areas to have dental sealants placed are on the biting surfaces of the molars, where deep nooks and crannies exist. They are also placed in the small pit on the cheek side of the lower molars, on the tongue side of the upper molars, and on the backside of the upper front teeth, where there is sometimes a deep groove.
How Are They Placed?
- The teeth will be cleaned out and polished so that no bacteria remains and then dried.
- A material called “acid etch” will be placed for 30 seconds on the spots where the sealants will go to create microscopic notches in the enamel surface for the sealants to bond to
- The acid etch will be washed off, and the teeth will again be dried
- The sealant material will be placed on the intended spots and hardened in place with a light cure.
There is no pain associated with placing dental sealants, no freezing and no drilling. The procedure typically takes 5-10 minutes, depending on how many teeth are recommended to be sealed. Interested in dental sealants or have questions about them? We encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.