In dentistry, a sealant refers to a thin plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars as well as to any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) in the teeth.  There is a high probability that more than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves.  The teeth with these conditions are very difficult to clean and they are prone to decay very easily as a result.  Sealants create a smooth, easy-to-clean surface by sealing deep grooves in the tooth.

It is possible to protect teeth from decay for many years by using sealants; however, it is important to check them for wear and chipping on a regular basis at the dentist.

Sealants are used for the following reasons:

  • Children and teenagers – it is strongly recommended that they see a dentist as soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear (around age 6) or any time during the cavity-prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults – There are deep grooves or depressions on the surface of the teeth without any decay.
  • Baby teeth – It is a procedure that is occasionally performed if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and if the child is prone to cavities.

Why do sealants need to be applied?

It is easy for your dentist or dental hygienist to apply sealants and the process only takes a couple of minutes for each tooth.

To seal the teeth, they are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry so that the sealant will not stick to the teeth. In order to strengthen the bond between the sealant and the enamel surface, a special solution is applied to the enamel surface. It is then necessary to rinse and dry the teeth before they are placed into the mouth. In order to cover deep grooves or depressions in the enamel surface, a sealant material is carefully painted on to the enamel surface. A sealant will either harden automatically or with the use of a special curing light, depending on the type of sealant used.

The life of your new sealants will be prolonged if you take proper care of them at home, eat a balanced diet, and visit your dentist regularly.

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