What Are Dental Sealants and When Do You Need Them?

dental sealants

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are something that we use that are preventive in nature. We paint a thin coating of protective material on each tooth to prevent decay. Our teeth naturally have grooves and pits on them. A sealant cleans off all those grooves and pits, and then puts a resin-type material over them to seal or to close off that space to prevent bacteria from getting down there and forming a lot of decay.

When and why would you use a sealant?

When we see patients who have lots of deep pits and grooves in their teeth, we definitely recommend using a sealant. Dentists place sealants as soon as possible after those teeth have erupted, so then there’s no possibility of being exposed to bacteria or anything.

We usually advise sealants just in certain situations based on what’s going on in someone’s mouth and to maintain them for as long as possible. We recommend that they have them at least until they get to the point where they’re through their teenage years when they don’t have as many bad habits in terms of high sugar diets. Usually sealants can last for a very, very long time if they are well-maintained. What can happen over time is sealants can break based on eating crunchy, hard, chewy foods or normal use. Our goal is to maintain them at least through the teenage years on teeth that do have deep grooves.

Is that just something you would find out during a normal exam?

Correct. After a thorough examination and seeing if these type of teeth with deep grooves have erupted, sealant may be advised.

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