Dental sealants are a plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth to reduce your risk of cavities. They are often recommended for children, but adults can benefit from them as well. Dental sealants can last for up to ten years.
How Dental Sealants Work
The chewing surfaces of your square back teeth, called molars and premolars, have irregular shapes to help them grind down your food. Some people have very deep grooves, even pits, on their teeth that can be hard to clean. Bacteria and food particles can get trapped in there, leading to decay. Dental sealants are a plastic coating applied to keep food and bacteria away from your teeth. Dental sealants are often recommended for children because it can be hard for them to thoroughly clean their back teeth.
The effectiveness of dental sealants for cavity prevention has been recognized by the American Dental Association. Most insurance companies give minimal coverage for dental sealants, but this is changing as more and more companies recognize the benefit in preventing more serious restorative dentistry procedures later on. We can check on your coverage during your visit so you can make an informed decision about the procedure.
The Dental Sealant Process
Before we apply your dental sealants, we make sure your teeth are free of decay. If necessary, we will fill any decayed areas. Then we will clean your teeth with a solution that also lightly etches the surface to improve the bond between your teeth and the sealant. This only takes about 15 seconds. Then we thoroughly rinse the cleaning solution and dry the surface. We apply the dental sealant, which begins as a liquid. Once your teeth are coated, we harden the sealant with a curing light.
The dental sealant process doesn’t take very long at all, as little as ten minutes or up to 45, depending on how many teeth need coating.