A sealant is a coating that protects a tooth from decay. When teeth are treated with sealants, they are less likely to get cavities. Sealants can be applied quickly and painlessly. These are the reasons why we recommend sealants for patients.
The sealant is a plastic material (resin) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The resin flows into the pits and grooves of the teeth. Once the pits and grooves are covered, food and plaque cannot get in. The sealants work to form a barrier against acid attacks and decay.
It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth are cleaned and chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant stick to the tooth. The sealant is “painted” onto the chewing surface, where it bonds to the tooth. A special light may be used to help the sealant harden.
Sealants may last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time, sealants can become loose or worn, then they may not protect as well. The dentist will check sealants during each checkup visit to ensure they are still intact. Bruxing, chewing ice or hard candy, and poor oral hygiene may affect the longevity of the sealants. Nothing is 100%, however preventative measures are you best chance to reduce the risk of decay. Prevention is always better than treatment!