A dental sealant is a preventive technique used by a dentist to reduce risk of cavities in molars and other heavily grooved teeth. The sealant is typically placed over the top surface of the teeth, the part that has the greatest contact with food. Due to the grooved surfaces of the target teeth, food particles can become trapped and difficult to clean, increasing likelihood of decay. The dental sealant stops this before it happens.
To prepare the teeth, dentists typically apply a dental sealant after a professional cleaning and checkup appointment. The sealant is applied in the same fashion as tooth-colored fillings, with an etching substance applied to teeth to dry and etch the surface for a better bond. The composite sealant is applied to the top surface or chewing surface of the teeth and worked into the grooves then cured with a UV light. The finished sealed tooth is protected from contact with food on the sealed surface, and the sealant also makes it difficult for plaque to buildup and become tartar. [pullquote]A dental sealant is a preventive technique used by a dentist to reduce risk of cavities in molars and other heavily grooved teeth.[/pullquote]
Most dentists agree that the best time to apply a dental sealant is shortly after the permanent teeth have emerged. For the first molars, this is usually around 6-years-old for children, with the second molars coming in around 12-years-old and the third molars, or wisdom teeth, in the later teen years. The sealant not only helps to protect the teeth, but also improves future dental checkups.
It is important to note, however, that dental sealants do not prevent all cavities from forming as only the top of the tooth is sealed. Without sufficient daily flossing and brushing, and maintaining regular checkups and professional cleaning appointments with a dentist, cavities can develop between teeth or along the gumline. To learn more about caring for teeth so they last a lifetime, preventing cavities, and dental sealant options, contact our office at 281-256-6866 today.