What is a sealant?  

A sealant is a tooth-colored resin material that is placed on chewing surfaces of teeth to help them stay cavity-free.

crack

Why do teeth need sealants?

Molar and premolar teeth often have very deep pits and fissures.  While bacteria can easily enters these groves, toothbrush bristles are often too large and therefore ineffective.  As a result, these areas become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply which can lead to dental decay. A sealant does just what its name suggests…it seals off the grooves so that bacteria can’t enter.  After a sealant is placed these areas can no longer harbor bacteria and your tooth brushing once again becomes effective.

tooth-groove

What teeth need sealants? 

Any teeth that have deep groves or pits can benefit from sealants.  These are most often found on molar and premolar (teeth right in front of the molars) permanent teeth, but varies from one individual to another.  One person might benefit from sealants on all molars and premolars (16 teeth), while another may only need their molars (8 teeth) sealed.

Once a tooth has a dental filling in it, it no longer benefits from a sealant.

People often think that only children benefit from sealants.  That is because sealants are typically placed on a child’s molars when they first erupt.  The reality is that any teeth with deep pits and fissures (that do not already have fillings) can benefit from sealants because they  will help prevent future cavities.

How is a sealant applied?

No tooth structure is removed in order to place a sealant.  Instead it is kind of like painting your fingernails: resin material is only added, nothing is taken away.  The tooth is thoroughly cleaned with a pumice and etch.  The tooth is then washed thoroughly. Finally, the sealant material is applied and then cured with a light in order to harden it.

before-after-sealantHow long do sealants lasts?

Sealants typically last two to five years.  Although, it is not uncommon to see sealants in adults that were placed in childhood and are still intact.

Avoiding sticky, chewy, and hard foods can potentially prolong the life of a sealant.

If a sealant is no longer fully intact then it is no longer effective and should be replaced by your dentist.  If it has been less than two years since the sealant was placed, ask if your Apex family dentist offers a warranty for sealants.

Comments on this post

Total 4 Comments

Y. DREW

14 : 27 : 19

Dr. Hansen and his staff are wonderful. Their kindness, attention to detail and fantastic dental work have me smiling again!
Dr. Hansen is top notch on my book!

Reply

    Rachael R. Hansen, RDH

    05 : 00 : 03

    Thank you!! 😉

    Reply

liz Ducady

02 : 09 : 36

How many sealants are recommended in a set of teeth ?

Reply

    Rachael R. Hansen, RDH

    04 : 58 : 24

    Thanks for you question.
    It really depends. Some people can benefits from sealants on all of their molars and premolars (which would mean up to 20, although that would be rare and kind of extreme). Some people may not have very “groovy” molars and therefore may not benefit from any sealants at all. It really depends on the individual. That being said, it is somewhat “standard” is to do them on the 6 year molars and on the 12 year molars. Which would mean 8. 😉

    Reply

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