What are sealants?
Sealants are clear or white plastic that are placed in the grooves of the biting surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from destructive effects of plaque.
Why are sealants needed?
Back teeth have deep grooves and pits that are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, which is a nearly invisible film of bacteria and food, collects in these grooves. To make the plaque easier to see, we may stain the plaque with a harmless red dye.
Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque forms acid. Without sealants, these acid attacks can cause the enamel to break down, and you develop a cavity.
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How are sealants placed?
First, we thoroughly clean, dry the teeth and have a conditioning solution is applied. Then, the sealant material is brushed into the grooves. Some type of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Children and adults can benefit from sealants in the fight against tooth decay.