What are sealants?
A sealant is a clear plastic material (resin) applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth, the premolars and molars. The resin bonds to the depressions and grooves of the back teeth. It forms a thin covering to keep out plaque and debris and decreases the risk of dental decay.
Sealants protect the chewing surfaces. They serve as a barrier against tooth decay. To prevent cavities from forming between the teeth, flossing once a day and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is very important. Good oral hygiene at home and regular dental checkups along with professional teeth cleaning help fight tooth decay.
How are sealants applied?
It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. It takes only one visit and is quick and comfortable. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then “painted” onto the tooth where a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
We sometimes recommend sealants with nitrous oxide or laughing gas to help relax your child and help children who have a strong gag reflex.
How long do sealants last?
Research shows that sealants can last for many years and reduce the risk of cavities significantly. So, your child will be protected throughout the cavity prone years. With good oral hygiene and healthy eating habits, sealants will last longer. We will check the sealants during routine dental visits and can recommend reapplication or repair when necessary.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities by helping the teeth gain minerals they have lost and making them more resistant to acid. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes and normally follows your child’s dental exam.