What are Sealants?
Premolar and molar teeth have deep grooves called pits and fissures, which make them especially vulnerable to decay. These uneven and rough grooves just so happen to be a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide. Still, there’s a safety net to help keep those teeth healthy. It’s called a sealant.
A sealant is a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. This new, smooth surface acts like a repellant to tiny bacteria and food particles, keeping cavities from forming and stopping even the early stages of decay.
Who are Sealants for?
Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This impressive stat is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health. As soon as these molars & premolars erupt through the gums, we consider sealant placement. Kids as young as 5 or 6 are the perfect candidates for their first sealants. And as the adult molars & premolars continue to erupt, we will plan to seal these as well. Another reminder of why we reinforce regular check-ups, allowing us to assess
Good oral hygiene helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrushes can't reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract all food and plaque. While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas.
It is important to note that even someone with a immaculate dental hygiene can be at risk for cavities. Certain people are simply more prone to dental caries due to the shape and structure of their teeth – unfortunately, genetics is not always on our side!
Sealants are not a “set it and forget it” solution. Sealants are not a permanent fixture of the tooth its placed on, and over time may begin to chip. The sealant may form porosities allowing bacteria to “leak” and potentially cause decay. As these sealants fall apart at the edges, it is typically a matter of when we want to address the issue and repair/replace these sealants with new fillings. Often we consider small fillings that we refer to as “PRRs,” Preventive Resin Restorations.