A dental sealant is a plastic material that is painted onto the chewing surface of a tooth to protect it against decay. Dental sealants are usually placed on the molars and premolars, but they can be placed on any of the teeth. The back teeth, or molars and premolars, need the most protection because these are the teeth that most commonly have decay. The back teeth have crevices and depressions that are hard to clean when you brush and floss. Food and plaque can get caught in these grooves, which can cause decay. Having dental sealants placed will protect the molars and premolars. Sealants protect your teeth by blocking out plaque.
Usually, dental sealants are placed on children and teenagers’ teeth when the premolars and molars first grow in. Patients are more likely to develop cavities at these ages and sealants will help protect their teeth. However, adults can have sealants placed as well. Be aware that dental sealants can only be placed on teeth that have no decay or dental fillings. Your dental sealants will last for years and can be replaced when needed.
Before placing dental sealants, your dentist will first clean the teeth thoroughly. Then a solution is placed on the teeth that creates a rough surface for the dental sealants to attach to. The solution is rinsed off and the teeth are dried. The dental sealant is then painted onto the teeth, where it bonds into place. A special light can be used to speed up the curing process. When you come in for routine dental appointments, your dentist will monitor the condition of your sealants and reapply them when necessary.