Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a coating of material that is applied to the surfaces of teeth. The sealant protects teeth from decaying. It is white, clear, or tinted color. The sealant is not something that you or others can see. It may only be seen by you if you look closely.

WHAT ARE DENTAL SEALANTS FOR?

Teeth contain small crevices called "pits and grooves." The pits and grooves in the teeth attract food and bacteria and can be difficult to clean with brushing and flossing alone. Dental sealants add a protective coating to the normal pits and grooves found on the teeth. Sealants are often applied to permanent molars but may be applied to any permanent or baby tooth that has pits or grooves. Sealants can reduce the risk of decay, and prevent costly visits to the dentist to fill cavaties.

WHO SHOULD GET DENTAL SEALANTS?

Dental sealants are most often given to children and teenagers. Young children and teenagers are at most risk for tooth decay. However, adults can also have sealants applied. 

HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST?

Sealants will remain on the teeth for several years. However, brushing and flossing regularly are still very important, even after sealants are applied. At your regular visits, your dentist will make sure the sealants are still intact. They can be re-applied if necessary. 

PROCEDURE

The tooth is cleaned and conditioned with a solution to help the sealant bond to the tooth. The tooth is then thoroughly dried. A thin coat of sealant is painted or squirted gently onto the grooves and pits of the tooth where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special light may be shined on the sealant to help it dry and harden. Your dentist will ask you to bite down to make sure you cannot feel the sealant. Several teeth can be done during the same visit.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Resume your normal diet.

  • Have your teeth cleaned at the dentist every 6 months.

  • Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.

  • Floss daily.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need fluoride supplements or treatments.