Dental Sealants are a composite material applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. They are typically placed on the 6 and 12 year molars.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted into the grooves on the biting surface of the tooth. It is then cured with an ultraviolet light, allowing the material to bond directly to the tooth and harden. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last for years. Occasionally, sealants can be worn down by daily chewing or pulled out by sticky foods. During your regular dental visits, the dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them if necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are greatly at risk and make for the best candidates.