Dental sealants are clear coatings applied to the surfaces of molars to prevent the development of tooth decay. They work by preventing food and plaque from resting in the grooves and crevices of molars – an area especially susceptible to cavities. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. children ages 6 to 12 currently have sealants on their teeth.
Although these treatments are traditionally recommended for children, we see the benefits of use in all ages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will dental sealants affect the feel or appearance of my teeth?
Sealants bond directly to the teeth, where they harden to a clear or tooth-colored coat. This makes them virtually undetectable to others. Though it is normal to feel them with the tongue, most quickly adapt to their presence.
What will I experience?
The process is fast and painless. The tooth is cleaned before the dentist paints the sealant onto the enamel. It will then immediately harden, acting as a barrier between bacteria and the chewing surface of the teeth. In most cases, they will last several years before needing to be reapplied. However, regular visits to the dentist will be necessary to monitor the condition of the sealants and examine their effectiveness.
Will sealants prevent all cavities?
While sealants are extremely effective for preventing tooth decay, they do not replace other forms of preventative oral health care. Patients should still brush and floss each day using fluoridated toothpaste. Regular dental exams and a balanced diet low in sugar are also essential for good long-term oral health.