A sealant is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your teeth. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can help keep cavities from forming.
According to the ADA, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children, of which only 43% of children ages 6-11 have.
Who can get sealant?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start.
Ask your dentist if sealants are a good option for you and your family.
How are sealants applied?
It’s a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth again before applying the sealant. Your dentist will then finish the procedure with a special blue light to harden the sealant.
Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.