Dental sealants provide a barrier on these teeth to seal out bacteria that can cause cavities.
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that’s applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (the premolars and molars) to help protect them against decay. Sealants can be clear, white or slightly tinted. They’re usually not seen when you talk or smile.
Who Needs Dental Sealants?
Children and teens should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as they come in to protect them. Sealants also may be used on other permanent teeth that have pits and grooves as well.
Additionally, some children may require dental sealants on their baby teeth if these teeth have deep grooves or pits in them. Dental sealants will help to protect these teeth from decay until their permanent teeth come in.
While sealants are not as common in adults, they can benefit from sealants, too – especially if their back teeth have deep grooves or fissures in them.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
The application of sealants is quick and painless. No drilling or removal of the tooth surface is required.
- The tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- Dr. Erickson or one of the dental hygienists applies a special acid solution to the chewing surface of the tooth for a few seconds to roughen it up. This gel helps the sealant bond to the tooth.
- The tooth is rinsed and dried.
- Dr. Erickson or the hygienist paints the liquid sealant onto the tooth’s enamel. A special light may be shined on the tooth to help the sealant harden. This takes about a minute.
And that’s it! It’s really that easy. Once the dental sealant has hardened, you can chew on the tooth again.
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years. Dr. Erickson will check the sealant at regular dental appointments to make sure it’s still in place. If the sealant has worn off, it can be reapplied easily.
You should continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. While the dental sealant protects the surface of your tooth, you still need fluoride to protect all the surfaces of your teeth from decay.
To find out if you or your children can benefit from dental sealants, call Danville Family Dentistry for an appointment. Dr. Erickson can talk you about needs and determine if sealnts can help you or your child.