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Sealants

A sealant is a clear or shaded, thin, plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. Four out of five cavities in children are found in  these areas. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay.  A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and breakdown at regular dental visits.

 

Reasons for sealants:

  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if primary/baby teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is at high risk for dental decay.

What do sealants involve?

Sealants are easily applied by your child's pediatric dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton or isolated with a rubber dam to keep the area dry.  A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth.  The teeth are then rinsed and dried.  Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions.  Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with the use of a special curing light.