What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are placed on baby teeth and adult teeth. Dental sealants are important since they protect the tooth from dental decay. Many teeth have deep grooves or "fissures", which are hard to clean with a toothbrush. Plaque and bacteria can accumulate in these areas and cause dental cavities to form. Dental sealants can help prevent this from occuring by filling up these grooves and making them smooth so bacteria and plaque can't penetrate these places. Sealants are most often placed on posterior molars and premolars (back teeth).
When are sealants placed?
The first adult molar erupts around the age of 6 and the last of the adult premolars erupt around age 12. Sealants should be placed as soon as tooth eruption is complete but ultimately they can be placed at any age! It is never too late to for a dental sealant, especially if you are prone to dental decay.
What is the procedure like?
Sealant placement is a simple painless dental procedure. It is done in one office visit and is so quick and simple that it is often done during your cleaning appointments. The tooth is first cleaned, isolated and conditioned for the sealant. The material is then placed and a light is placed over the tooth so that the material hardens.