What are dental sealants? Dental sealants are thin resin coatings which are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth) to help prevent tooth decay. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from cavities by covering them with a protective shield that blocks out bacteria and food. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
Which teeth are suitable for sealants? Permanent molars are the most likely to benefit from sealants. First molars usually come into the mouth when a child is about 6 years of age. Second molars appear at about age 12. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the molars have erupted, before the teeth have a chance to decay.
What are the benefits of sealants? Sealants are smooth and make it harder for bacteria to stick in the pits and grooves of molars. Sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent cavities. A tooth without a cavity is stronger and healthier than a tooth with a filling or untreated decay. Sealants are an economical preventive measure to keep teeth healthy for years.
How long will sealants last? One sealant application can last up to 3 years or longer. Sealants are checked at every cleaning appointment and are touched up for no charge up to 3 years from the time of initial placement.
Will sealants replace fluoride? NO. Fluorides, such as those used in community water, and toothpaste also help to prevent decay. Fluoride works best on the smooth surfaces of teeth. The chewing surfaces on the back teeth, however, have tiny grooves where decay often begins. Sealants and fluoride work together to prevent tooth decay.
How will it feel after sealants are placed? It might feel a slightly high initially as your bite is adjusting to having the new sealant placed. As you bite and grind your food, the sealant will start to feel normal within a few days.