Morgan Johnson, RDH
What Are Dental Sealants?
If you have children, you may have heard your dentist recommend placing sealants on your child’s back teeth (molars and/or premolars). When these teeth erupt, they tend to have deep pits and fissures on the occlusal (or chewing) surfaces. Because of these deep grooves, these teeth are more vulnerable to decay. Children are often still developing good oral hygiene habits, so food and plaque tend to get left behind in these hard to clean areas. To help prevent cavities from occurring on these teeth, dental professionals like to seal up those deep pits and fissures with a plastic material, called a sealant. Sealants are typically most common for children, but they may be placed on adults as well if necessary!
This procedure is very easy, simple, and doesn’t require any anesthetic (numbing)! First the chewing surface of the tooth is polished to remove any debris, and then it is rinsed clean, and dried. Next an acidic solution is applied to the surface, to “roughen” up the enamel, which makes the sealant material better attach to the tooth. Once the tooth is dried again, the plastic sealant material is applied to the tooth, and dried with a curing light. Your bite is then adjusted if needed, and you have a shiny new protective sealant. Longevity of sealants varies from person to person, but they can last for many years!
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