Dental sealants are placed to help prevent cavities. Dental sealants are preventive resins that can be placed on the biting surfaces of both baby teeth and adult teeth.
Since the biting surfaces of back molars sometimes have deep grooves, food can get stuck in them. Cavity-causing bacteria feed off this food and release toxins that cause cavities. A dental sealant can cover these deep grooves and can protect the tooth against potential cavities.
How is a dental sealant placed?
First, the teeth to be sealed are properly isolated and cleaned. Then, the biting surfaces are cleaned with a conditioning gel. After rinsing the tooth and properly drying, the resin is placed on the teeth and “cured” to the tooth with a special light.
Do the teeth or gums need to be numbed?
Since the process of dental sealants is preventive and we are not drilling into the tooth, usually no anesthesia is required.
How long will a sealant last?
A properly placed dental sealant can last on average 3-5 years. The habits of the patient are largely dependent upon longevity.
Are there foods that should be avoided to help make sealants last longer?
Sticky and chewy foods should ideally be avoided. Hard candies and ice should also be avoided. These foods stick to the grooves of teeth and they also stick to sealants and dislodge them.
What’s the difference between a filling and a sealant?
Fillings are a treatment recommendation when a cavity is present. A sealant is recommended to help prevent cavities.