Teeth sealants are thin layers of “tooth-colored” filler, called resin, that is placed in the pits, fissures, and grooves of the back teeth, or molars, to prevent decay from forming on these surfaces.
Frequently, decay begins on molars in the pits and chewing surfaces. This starts shortly after the teeth erupt and for the first five to seven years of development. Sealing these surfaces with composite, or tooth-colored resins, can prevent this type of decay.
Sealants are one of the most effective methods of preventing decay on the surfaces where they are placed. There is always a possibility that decay may develop on surfaces in between teeth, however, teeth sealants significantly reduce the overall chance of having cavities. Although they are more effective when they are placed early on, it is never too late to get sealants before decay can erode the enamel from the teeth.
Teeth sealants are placed during a simple and painless procedure.
- The dentist cleans out the grooves of the tooth with a brush that is attached to the dental hand piece.
- After the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, the dentist will “etch” the area of the tooth with a special gel where the sealant material will be applied.
- The etching gel gets washed off and the tooth enamel will be dried with an air gun. No saliva can touch this area prior to the sealant being placed.
- The sealant is applied to the conditioned area of the tooth and into the pits, fissures and grooves.
- The sealant is set with a curing light.
- The dentist will check the patient’s bite to be sure that the sealant is not too thick or interfere with the bite. If it is, the dentist will buff the tooth to thin and even the tooth.