- Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied in the dental office on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, which are prime spots for cavities. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth.
- Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars which erupt around the age of 6 and second molars that erupt around the age of 12. It is important to have the sealant applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. They are also indicated on the pre-molars if there are deep pits and fissures present.
- Before the sealant material is applied, the tooth surface is prepared by cleaning with a dental solution that helps the sealant stick to the tooth by penetrating the enamel.
- Sealants may last for several years once applied, but should always be examined at the child's regular checkup. Even if the sealant becomes lost, the material that has penetrated the enamel will still provide protection. Sealants are easily replaced if lost.
- Sealants are nearly 100% effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Fluoride helps fight decay on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.
Food trapped in the back teeth in the pits and grooves that are formed on the chewing surface is extremely difficult to eliminate through regular brushing or rinsing. Sealants are stuck to the tooth enamel to keep the food from accumulating. The sealants are a tough material made of plastic. The main purpose of the sealants is to prevent food from getting stuck in the spaces in the back teeth. Moreover, they protect the teeth from decay that can grow. Sealants are tooth colored or transparent and are painted on the tooth surface. They seal the gaps that have been created and block decay from accumulating. Sealants are commonly used for children’s teeth but might be used for adults in some cases.
Prevention is better than cure. Waiting for decay to occur and then getting treatment is an expensive proposition. Getting sealants will guard the teeth from decay altogether. However, sealants are temporary solution to the problems. The normal life of a sealant is five years but they can deteriorate quickly through wear and tear. Sealants only protect the chewing surface of the back teeth, not the decay which is occurring between the teeth. Proper care is required for keeping the teeth clean.
There is no suitable substitute for sealants. A filling or restoration can help in case if the tooth has decay.