The use of dental sealants is a highly effective method for preventing the occurrence of cavities and decay on the chewing surfaces of a person’s back teeth. They consist of a layer of acrylic that is applied directly to the teeth. This application covers any deep pits and fissures that are present, establishing an effective barrier against harmful bacteria and acids.
The deep grooves and fissures found on a person’s back teeth are home to nearly 75 percent of all tooth decay. Even with proper brushing and flossing habits, these areas are particularly difficult to reach. When dental sealants are applied, these rough surfaces are smoothed out, making them significantly easier to clean and maintain. With proper care, dental sealants should last for several years.
Children and teenagers who are still learning proper brushing and flossing habits are often excellent candidates for dental sealants; however, many adults also use dental sealants as a way of protecting their back molars.
Dental sealants can be applied in just one visit. A couple of minutes per tooth is all that is required. To start, the tooth that is designated for sealing is dried and thoroughly cleaned. The tooth is kept dry throughout the procedure using a cotton swab. Using an etching solution, the surface of the tooth is roughened so that the tooth can easily bond with the sealant material.
After the etching solution has done its job, the solution will be rinsed off, and the tooth will be re-dried. At this point, the tooth is ready for sealing. Acrylic sealant will be painted onto the tooth and be given time to fully dry. The dentist will make sure that the tooth has been fully sealed and that all deep grooves and fissures are adequately blocked off.