What are dental sealants?
Here at Upper East Pediatric Dentistry, we prioritize prevention as much as we can. Dental sealants are an important part of this approach. A dental sealant is a tooth-colored material that is flowed onto the biting surfaces of teeth, creating a barrier between a tooth’s grooves and pits and the oral environment. This prevents food, plaque and bacteria from getting trapped in these highly retentive areas that are extra susceptible to developing cavities. That’s how dental sealants to reduce up to 76% of cavities on biting surfaces of permanent first molars as measured at four years, when reapplied as needed! (Bravo M, Montero J, Bravo JJ, Baca P, Llodra JC. Sealant and fluoride varnish in caries: a randomized trial. J Dent Res 2005;84(12):1138-1143.) Does this mean that a sealed tooth can never get a cavity? Unfortunately, no. The tooth can still get cavities on other surfaces, such as those that approximate neighboring teeth. However, dental sealants reduce the risk of a cavity forming on a surface that’s extra susceptible to cavities. Seeing your dentist regularly also allows your dentist to check the dental sealants and touch them up as needed, to ensure their effectiveness. What is the application process? To increase the longevity of the dental sealant, the tooth must be kept dry during application. This means the dentist will hold the cheek and tongue away from the tooth to avoid it getting wet. Once proper isolation is achieved, the dentist will apply a few different materials to help clean and prepare the tooth for the dental sealant. Finally, the dentist will flow the sealant into its proper spot, and shine a light onto it so it hardens from a liquid into a solid. That’s it! What an easy way to help prevent cavities and avoid drilling into teeth!