A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating placed on teeth — typically molars and premolars — to prevent tooth decay. The sealant bonds into the depressions and grooves of these teeth, forming a protective layer on the surface of the enamel. Dental sealants offer several benefits. First, it makes it easier for you to clean these grooves when brushing and flossing your teeth. Second, it prevents food from getting stuck in these surfaces and causing tooth decay.
Sealants are most often used for children and adolescents, and are typically applied as soon as permanent teeth grow in. This helps patients maintain good oral health during the cavity-prone period of 6 to 14 years. However, adults whose teeth do not have any cavities can also benefit from sealants.
How are sealants applied?
The application of sealants is a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes. First, the teeth are professionally cleaned. Then, each tooth is dried with an absorbent material. An acid solution is applied to the chewing surface to roughen them in order to help the sealants bond. Sealants are then painted on the surface and cured using a special light.
Sealants can last up to ten years, but they require regular checking for chipping and tear.