Many people have deep pits and grooves in their teeth where bacteria and food particles can hide and cause decay. Children may also develop decay on hard-to-reach molars. For situations like these, dental tooth sealants offer a means of protecting molar and premolar chewing surfaces.
Dental sealant is a resin that we bond to the deep grooves in your tooth's chewing surface to prevent cavities. This preventative dentistry technique lends itself especially to healthy or newly erupted permanent teeth at the back of the mouth.
Many people don't realise that their children's first permanent molars arrive at around the age of six! At this age, many children aren't able to brush that well and are often consuming lots of sugary treats or drinks, leaving these lifelong teeth extremely vulnerable to decay.
How does tooth sealing work?
First, we identify and fill any spots of decay, then prepare the teeth with a cleaning and etching solution. After about 15 seconds, we thoroughly rinse the solution, dry the surface, coat the teeth with the sealant, and harden it with a curing light.
The entire procedure is fast, easy, and comfortable. It takes about 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth to seal. With sealants, tooth brushing also becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Although sealants are usually applied to children's teeth as a preventative measure during the years of most likely tooth decay, adults' teeth can also be sealed. It is more common to seal "permanent" teeth rather than "baby" teeth, but every patient has unique needs. Your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants generally last from 3 to 5 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 and assess whether it should be replaced.