Dental Sealants – What Are They And What Is The Procedure?

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants (also called fissure sealants) are plastic coating which is placed on the surface of the molar teeth.  Dental sealants are usually placed on the biting surface, but they may sometimes be needed on the cheek or tongue side of the teeth if there are pits there.

Why Should My Child Have Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are placed to prevent food and plaque from getting stuck in the pits and fissures of the teeth and causing decay.  The grooves of the teeth are difficult to clean and are susceptible to decay.  The material used in dental sealants is flowed into these pits and fissures creating a smoother surface, which is easier to clean with a toothbrush.  Dental sealants reduce the risk of decay and needing fillings by putting a barrier between the surface of the teeth and the plaque.  Some sealants also have fluoride in them which helps to strengthen the teeth.

What Age Should Dental Sealants Be Placed?

Dental sealants should be placed soon after the teeth come through.  Once the new teeth are completely through the gums, this is the best time to have the sealants placed.  They are generally placed between 6 ad 14 years of age.  During routine dental visits, your dentist will advise you on when and if dental sealants should be placed.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years.  The sealants can chip or wear away.  The sealants can be repaired or replaced if required.  Your dentist will check your sealants at your regular 6-month checkup appointment.

What Is The Procedure For Placing Dental Sealants?

Applying a dental sealant is a quick and painless procedure.  The teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried.  The sealant material is then placed on the teeth and it is set with a curing light.