What are sealants?

A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is placed over the biting surfaces of a tooth as a means to prevent the formation of a cavity.

How does it work?

In many cases, it is near impossible for children (or adults) to clean the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth. When a sealant is placed, the surface of the tooth becomes flatter and smoother. The grooves are covered and are no longer available for plaque and bacteria to hide. Therefore, there is much less chance that decay will start.

What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?

The longevity of sealants can vary. Sealants which have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, however, sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.

Which teeth should be sealed?

Any tooth that has characteristic (pits, fissures, grooves) which a sealant can correct and thus place the tooth at less risk for developing decay, should be sealed. The most common teeth are the permanent molars (“back teeth”). There are times when it is recommended other teeth be sealed, but this should be considered on a case to case basis.