Dental Sealants

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.

 Why is it important to receive sealants?

Dental Sealants are most useful on permanent teeth, specifically the molars. Children usually get their first set of molars at around age 6, but their second or permanent molars do not erupt until around age 12. Dental sealants are most effective when applied shortly after the permanent molars have come up in order to prevent tooth decay.
How Are Sealants Applied?

Applying sealant is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:

  1. First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
  5. Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

 

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups. Your family dentist in Houston can replace sealants as necessary.