What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants is when a dentist places tooth coloured material called composite on the deep grooves of your back teeth (molars). The reason this is done is because this is where tooth decays are most common to start on your back teeth as most people tend to not brush the back teeth as they are hard to reach.
To prevent the bacteria forming in these grooves, dentists build it up. The best time to get sealants would be around the age of 13, which is when the permanent teeth are fully erupted. This does not mean you cannot get them when you are older. Sealants can protect your teeth for up to 10 years and your dentist can replace any sealants if they start wearing down.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Applying sealant is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:
- First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
- An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.