Has your dentist recommended sealants for yourself or your child? Are you unsure what sealants are or how the sealant process works? Let’s define sealants and see how they help prevent tooth decay.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth to fill in deep grooves and prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are tooth colored and look natural.
Who needs dental sealants?
We apply sealants to both children and adults. However, to have the best chance of preventing decay, they should be applied as soon as the teeth are fully erupted in the mouth. First molars erupt around age six and second molars erupt around age 12. Patient compliance should also be considered when deciding when your child gets sealants. If your child does great at the dental office and is able to stay still, that is a good indicator they will be able to tolerate getting sealants well. Sealant application does not require any numbing or shots and usually takes less than an hour. It should not be a traumatic experience for your children. However, it does require that they are able to hold their mouths open, stay still, and have a few different instruments in their mouths.
What is the sealant process?
- Etch the tooth. Think of etch as a powerful soap for the tooth. It cleans the surface to be sealed and allows the sealant material to bond to the tooth. We apply etch for 30 seconds and then rinse it off.
- Apply the sealant material. Next, we apply the sealant material to the grooves of the tooth.
- Light cure. We cure the sealant material with a special light. The light hardens the sealant material into the grooves of the tooth, sealing it off from bacteria which cause tooth decay.
- Check the seal. Finally, we check the sealant for a solid seal into the tooth. We ensure it is a good fit, properly bonded and not too high in the mouth. If need be, your dentist can adjust the sealants to make your bite feel natural.
We apply sealants to any posterior teeth, bi-cuspids and molars. Research shows that unsealed molars have a 95% chance of developing a cavity at some point in a person’s life. Therefore, sealants are one of the best preventers of tooth decay.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have! Call Adams and Cheek Dentistry today at (919)866-1360 or click here to schedule an appointment online.