A dental sealant is a plastic material that a dentist applies to the chewing surfaces of a child’s back teeth (premolars and molars). Dental sealants are made of a plastic resin that bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces on the back teeth, acting as a barrier to protect enamel from plaque and acids.
Dental Sealants to Prevent Cavities
Dental sealants are very effective in helping to prevent cavities. Thorough brushing and flossing are the best ways to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, since toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves of back teeth to extract food and plaque, sealants protect these vulnerable areas by preventing harmful bacteria from building up in these areas.
Applying a dental sealant is a quick and easy process. First, your dentist will clean the teeth. Then the chewing surfaces are roughed up with an acidic solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then 'painted' onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Usually a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden. This all takes place typically in one office visit and is quick, easy and painless. Sealants are also undetectable, and can only be seen close-up and are rarely visible while talking.
Dental sealants can benefit adults, too. However, dental sealants are more commonly placed in children because they can help prevent cavities early in life.
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