Sealants are protective filling materials placed on the tooth to prevent decay formation on the tooth surface.
The back teeth known as the molars are most susceptible to decay due to their anatomy (as their surface is uneven and rough) and placement (difficult for the brush to reach these areas). The leftover food particles get lodged in the pit and fissures of these teeth which causes bacteria to produce acid which leads to cavities.
The sealants are placed in these grooves and pits, thus preventing food particles from getting stuck in these areas and thus prevents tooth decay.
Are brushing and flossing not sufficient to keep cavities at bay?
Tooth brushing is the primary factor contributing to healthy teeth and gums but many times, the presence of pits and fissures in the molars prevents the bristles of the toothbrush from reaching those areas. Sealant placement helps prevent decay in such areas and ultimately saves a lot of money, time, and energy.
When should sealants be placed?
Sealants can be placed for both children and adults. Although sealants are mostly recommended for children between the age of 6 to 12 years as the first molar erupts at around 6 years of age and the second molar shows up at approximately 12 years of age. In this way, tooth protection against the cavity can be done at a very early age.
How are sealants placed?
Sealant placement is a painless procedure as it involves no drilling, injections, or invasive treatment. The first step involves cleaning the tooth surface with a paste followed by the application of a gel onto the tooth surface to make it rough to induce the bonding between the sealant and the tooth surface. After which the gel is washed off and the area is dried, followed by application of the sealant which is hardened using a curing light to fix it in position.
How long does a sealant last?
Studies have shown that sealants last for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 to 12 years. Although oral hygiene maintenance and care of the teeth play a key role in keeping the sealant intact.