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What are Sealants | United Concordia

Common Dental Questions

Defining Sealants

 

Question:

What are sealants?

 

Answer:

Dental sealants are a thin coating of plastic that is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars and premolars). Back teeth have grooves where food particles and bacteria can collect. If not removed, this collection of food and bacteria can lead to tooth decay. Sealants fill in the grooves, preventing the accumulation of food and bacteria and protecting the teeth against decay. 

 

When should sealants be put on my child’s teeth?

All teeth are vulnerable to decay as soon as they push through the gums (erupt). To provide the most protection, sealants should be applied soon after the teeth are visible. The first molars usually appear at about age 6. Second molars appear at about age 12.

 

How does the dentist put the sealants on?

Applying sealants is a very simple procedure. There is no need to drill or numb the teeth. First the teeth are cleaned and prepared. After the tooth is dried several coatings of the sealant material are applied to the tooth surface. A special light may be used to harden the dental sealant. The whole procedure only takes a few minutes per tooth.

Sealants can be white, clear or slightly tinted. Once applied, sealants are not usually noticeable, except under close inspection.

 

How long do sealants last?

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years. Your child’s dentist will check on the sealants during each dentist visit to make sure they are in good condition. Because sealants can wear or become damaged over time, it is important to have sealants repaired or replaced during the time sealants are needed to protect the teeth.