Sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80%!
A sealant is a coating that flows into the deep grooves on the chewing surface of teeth to protect them against decay. Teeth treated with sealants are less likely to get cavities.
Sealants are quick and easy to apply. Many back teeth grow in with deep grooves on the chewing surface as part of their normal anatomy. These grooves are impossible to clean because they are too narrow and deep for a toothbrush bristle to get into. In the past, the majority of these groovy teeth got fillings, usually within the first two years. With sealants, these teeth are no longer doomed to decay.
The sealant is a plastic material (resin), which flows into the pits and grooves of the teeth. Once the pits and grooves are covered, food and plaque cannot get in. The sealant acts as a barrier to acid attacks and decay.
When placing a sealant, the tooth is cleaned thoroughly and the chewing surface is prepared to allow the sealant to stick to the tooth. The sealant is then painted onto the chewing surface, where it bonds to the tooth. A special light is used to help the sealant harden.
Sealants may last several years before they need to be replaced. We will check your child's sealants during each checkup visit to be sure they are still intact. Grinding, chewing ice or hard candy, and poor oral hygiene may affect the longevity of the sealants.
Sealants are not a guarantee against cavities, but they are your best chance to prevent cavities on the chewing surface of teeth!
It only takes a few minutes to seal each tooth. This is a short video of a sealant being placed.