Dental sealants act as a barrier that helps to prevent the development of cavities. Sealants are made from a plastic material, and are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the patient’s back teeth (such as the molars and premolars) where decay most frequently occurs.
Practicing quality oral hygiene helps to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot always fully reach into the depressions and grooves of teeth to extract plaque and lingering food particles. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” food and plaque.
Sealants are easy for Drs. Ryan and Skinner to apply. The sealant is applied to the surface of teeth, where it bonds directly to the tooth enamel and begins to harden. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves found along the chewing surfaces of a patient’s back teeth. The sealant becomes a barrier, protecting enamel from harmful acids and plaque. For as long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.
Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before needing a reapplication. The likelihood of developing tooth decay and cavities begins early in life, so dental sealants are a great choice for children and teenagers. However, adults can benefit from sealants, as well.