Pediatric Dentistry

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What are Dental Sealants?

A dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in the chewing surface of the tooth. When a sealant is placed on a tooth, the grooves of your teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes smoother — which means it is less likely to harbor plaque, and form a cavity. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay. Sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure during the years of most likely tooth decay.

Sealants generally last from three to five years. However, it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact so if your sealant comes off you must let your dentist know.

Sometimes brushing is not enough. Everyone has hard-to-reach spots in their mouth and brushing doesn’t always fully clean those difficult places. When that happens, you are at risk of tooth decay. Using sealants on your teeth gives you an extra line of defense against tooth decay.

Benefits of Dental Sealants

  • Sealants protect the grooves of the teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach
  • Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth
  • Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed
  • Sealants are more affordable and less invasive to prevent cavities
  • Sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible

How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

Dental sealants are applied in just a few easy steps:

  • The tooth receiving the sealant is thoroughly cleaned and dried.
  • An “etching” solution, which slightly roughens the tooth’s surface, is applied.
  • The liquid sealant is brushed onto the roughened surface.
  • A curing light is used to harden the sealant (or it may be left for a minute to harden on its own).
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