What are sealants?
Dental sealants are made from plastic materials and are often applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. The sealant bonds to the surface of the tooth and fills the grooves in your molars. Sealants protect the chewing surface of your teeth from tooth decay. Since our molars do most of the work when chewing and grinding up food, they are particularly vulnerable to decay. Though daily brushing and flossing combats tooth decay, sealants provide an extra layer of protection against plaque and food particles. Our toothbrushes can’t reach every part of our teeth, so sealants protect the vulnerable parts of molars.
What is the process of getting dental sealants?
First, the teeth receiving sealants are thoroughly cleaned and dried, and an absorbent material is placed around the tooth to keep it dry throughout the procedure. Then, an acidic substance is applied to the teeth to roughen them up, which will make the bond between the tooth and the sealant stronger. The teeth are then cleaned, rinsed, and dried in final preparation for the application of the sealant. The sealant is then painted on, sinking into the grooves of the molars. The sealant then sets, effectively closing off the clean tooth from materials that could cause decay. Sometimes, a special light is used to help the sealant harden.
When should I get dental sealants?
It is important to get sealants as soon as possible when molars come in to make sure that those teeth are benefitting from the protection of the sealant for as long as possible. Due to this, sealants are typically applied during childhood. When your child’s first set of molars grow in, you should bring them to the dentist to have sealants applied to protect against cavities. The years between ages 6 and 14 are often cavity prone, and sealants can help reduce the amount of cavities your children may get.