A dental sealant is a thin tooth coloured filling material that is applied to the deep areas of your teeth to prevent cavities. Dental sealants are usually placed in areas that may be more susceptible to cavities. If they are cared for properly, dental sealants can last many years. Dental sealants differ from fillings because they are placed to prevent cavities as opposed to fixing cavities that have already started.
When Are Dental Sealants Recommended?
Dental sealants provide benefits for a wide range of people, for a wide range of reasons. They are used to reduce the risk of acids and bacteria from penetrating through the enamel, causing cavities. Dental sealants may be applied to any area where there is a groove or indentation in the tooth. Areas such as the biting surfaces of teeth or the pits on the front or back of the teeth. Below is a general list of reasons why sealants may be recommended.
- Previous cavities
- High sugar intake
- Deep grooves or pits in the molars
- Decalcified enamel (meaning cavities that have started but not penetrated through the outer layer of the tooth)
How Are Sealants Applied?
You don’t have to worry about being in pain or having to get numb to have a sealant placed. It is a straightforward, non-invasive procedure that only takes a few minutes. Below is a general outline of how dental sealants are placed:
- First, the tooth/ teeth that will be receiving the sealants will be completely cleaned and polished.
- The teeth are etched with a liquid to help the dental sealant material bond to the teeth.
- Sealant material is applied to the grooves and is hardened in place with a dental curing light.
- The bite will is checked to make sure the sealant material is not in the way when biting down, and if it is, it will be smoothed down.