What is a sealant?
A sealant is a type of tooth colored filling material that flows into the grooves of your teeth to help block our bacteria and sugar from getting deep inside. A dental sealant is one of the many preventative services we offer.
Why would I want a dental sealant?
A sealant is our first line of defense for a cavity and is great for younger patients or patients with teeth that have very deep grooves. A sealant, if indicated, can help block bacteria from getting into nooks and crannies of your tooth that are difficult to clean. Most commonly they are used on the permanent molars on children in order to seal off hard-to-reach areas and grooves of teeth that are susceptible to harboring bacteria and sugar. While sealants are a great line of defense against cavities, they cannot prevent a cavity from forming on other areas of the tooth if sugar intake is too high. The fluoride imbedded in the sealants that we use also help strengthen the surrounding tooth structure to keep the sealant intact and the tooth strong.
How does it work?
If your tooth does not have a cavity, but your tooth appears to have deep grooves that would be difficult to clean, a sealant is a great option. Primarily used for permanent teeth on children, they are sometimes indicated for adults.
A liquid material flows into the grooves and pits of the teeth and a light is used to harden the material within about 10 to 20 seconds making it strong and resilient to your biting forces.
Once in place, the sealant acts as a seal to prevent bacteria and sugar from getting into those deeper pits and grooves to help prevent a future cavity in that area.
Sealants are make of a very similar material that fillings are made out of, with the difference being that the sealants we use flow much more easily into the many grooves of the teeth, and the sealant material also contains fluoride to prevent future cavities. Sealants are a vital part of a preventative plan for kids, and sometimes adults, that ensure the tooth is sealed against bacterial invasion.
Keep in mind that sealants seal the top of the tooth, but hygiene and diet are still just as critical to prevent cavities on the inaccessible sides of the teeth where good and bacteria like to hide.