Sealants

Frequently asked Question: When is best time to apply sealants?

Answer: Ideally right after the 1st permanent molars fully erupt in the mouth, usually around age 6 and right after the 2nd permanent molars fully erupt, usually around age 12.

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.

Where Sealants May Benefit:

  • Children and teenagers – Ages 6-16 tend to be cavity prone years. Sealants may be applied as soon as the six year molars (first permanent back teeth) appear, or at any time during these years.
  • Adults - Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves may be protected and preserved with sealants.
  • Baby teeth - Occasionally even baby teeth may have deep grooves, which, if not sealed, can cause a child to be cavity prone.

What do sealants involve?

Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.