What is a dental sealant?

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque (the white chalky stuff that accumulates on teeth) from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves of the posterior teeth to extract food and plaque. Dental sealants are an effective way to protect against cavities in teeth that are at risk for these problems. A sealant placement will effectively keep food and debris out of these cracks and allow for easier cleaning of the teeth. Sealants are normally indicated for the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth (premolars and molars) which are more prone to have cavities and tooth decay on their biting surfaces.

Is it a complicated procedure?

It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Before placement of the sealant, the tooth is properly cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an acidic solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth structure. Next, the sealant is 'painted' onto the biting surface of the tooth where it bonds directly to the tooth structure. A special curing light is used to help the sealant harden. With the sealant in place, food can no longer hide in the small cracks and valleys of your teeth.

Are sealants just for kids?

Developing cavities on the biting surfaces of the teeth can begin early on, so children and teenagers are excellent candidates for sealants. However, adults can benefit from sealant placement as well. Key ingredients in the prevention of cavities is brushing at least twice a day, flossing or cleaning in between teeth daily, eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks, and visiting Rivertown Dental on a regular basis. Ask Dr. Hahn or Dr. Crete at your next appointment to see if sealants can give you a step up in your prevention of cavities.