Sealants, also referred to as dental sealants, consist of a plastic material that we place on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from bacteria and acids that contribute to tooth decay.
Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrushes can't reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract all food and plaque. While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas.
What to Expect During a SEALANT Procedure
Placing dental sealants is usually painless and doesn't require drilling or numbing medications.
- Tooth preparation – First, the surface of the tooth is polished to remove plaque and food debris from the pit and fissure surfaces. Next the tooth is isolated and dried. Then the surface of the tooth is etched.
- Sealant application – The dental sealant material is applied to the surface of the tooth with a brush; a self-curing light will be used for about 30 seconds to bond the sealant to the tooth surface.
- Evaluation – Finally, the dental sealant is evaluated and checked for its occlusion. Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.