Dental sealants are thin coatings that when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) can prevent cavities (tooth decay) for many years. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from cavities by covering them with a protective shield that blocks out germs and food. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.1 Children aged 6 to 11 years without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to attract plaque. When you receive dental sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective.
REASON FOR SEALANTS
Adults — Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
Children and teenagers — As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6 through 16.
Baby teeth — Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and the child is cavity-prone.
Sealants may last up to five years, although it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from childhood. Proper home care and regular visits to the dentist may help to extend the life of your new dental sealants.