Most tooth decay occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, otherwise known as molars. Brushing and flossing are best home practices to prevent cavities but it is not always easy to clean every crevice. Dental sealants are often used to protect hard to clean areas from decay. Sealants are a thin protective plastic coating painted on the grooves of the chewing surfaces on the back teeth to protect from decay and may even stop early stages of decay from turning into a cavity.
Both children and adults can benefit from sealants. Sealing teeth when molars first come in can help keep a child cavity-free from the start. Most children see their first molar appear at age 6, and the second set of molars around age 12. By protecting teeth with sealants, you will help to reduce the chance of decay (cavities on these teeth), save time and money.
Ask your dentist if dental sealants are a good option for you and your family.
Applying dental sealant is a quick and painless procedure. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth and then apply a tooth conditioner gel that helps the tooth form a strong bond for the sealant coating. After the tooth conditioner sits on your tooth for a few moments, your dentist will rinse your tooth and apply the sealant. The dental sealant is painted on each tooth and hardened using a special blue light. After the sealant is hardened, your dentist will then make sure it has formed to the grooves in your tooth correctly and does not interrupt your bite.
Gary W. Allen, DMD, P.C., Advantage Dental Group, P.C., DentaQuest Oral Health Center of Massachusetts, P.C., Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center of Alabama, P.C.