- Sealants are a protective coating that seals the chewing (occlusal) surface of the tooth and helps prevent bacteria from causing decay. Pre-molars and molar teeth, located in the back of the mouth, are naturally formed with pits and fissures on their chewing surface. Their shape and location makes them a challenge to keep clean especially during pre-teen and teenage years. A sealant helps protect these teeth by filling in the cracks and providing a protective shield that bacteria and food can’t penetrate.
Who are sealants for?
Sealants are best applied shortly after these molars come in, though it can be a good preventive measure for adults as well. For kids, their first molars will erupt around 6 years old, with the second molars following behind at around age 12. Once applied, a sealant can last 5 to 10 years with regular checks by your dentist.
How are sealants applied?
The process for applying a sealant is quite simple:
- The selected teeth are thoroughly cleaned
- An acid solution is applied to the teeth to roughen the surface,to facilitate sealant adherence
- Each tooth is rinsed and thoroughly dried
- The sealant is painted directly on to the tooth and allowed to harden, sometimes with the aid of a curing light
The appointment is quick, only about 30 minutes!