Dental sealants are used to prevent tooth decay. Teeth naturally have hollows and grooves (known as pits and fissures). These are most common on premolars and molars. These pits and fissures are more vulnerable to tooth decay because food and debris can become stuck there and it can be more difficult to brush and floss these teeth effectively.
A dental sealant is a protective resin coating that covers the pits and fissures on the chewing surface of susceptible teeth to create a smooth surface. This helps to prevent tooth decay because food and bacteria can no longer become lodged in the now smooth surface. The smooth surface created by the sealant provides a surface that is easier to clean and accessible to toothbrush bristles, toothpaste and saliva.
The sealants are usually applied as soon as the permanent molars come in between the ages of 6 and 20 years old. Once those molars have erupted, it is a good idea to have your dentist apply the sealants as soon as possible.
The procedure is often fast and painless. There is no drilling or removal of any part of the tooth structure during the process. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried, and then coated with a special gel. When the gel dries, the tooth is then brushed with sealant resin, which is then also allowed to dry. Sealants can be white, clear, or slightly tinted to match the colour of the tooth, and are not typically noticed when you laugh, talk, or smile.
These sealants often last for about 5 years and should be checked by us when you come in for regular visits. Using dental sealants for children, combined with good oral hygiene habits, healthy eating, and regular professional dental checks are a great way to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong throughout their lives.