A dental sealant is an inexpensive resin filling that acts as a barrier to help prevent decay. Sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of posterior (back) teeth. Although brushing and flossing help to prevent cavities, sealants serve as an extra step to protect the pits and fissures of teeth. Cavities begin at a young age, so children and teenagers are candidates for early preventive sealants. Sealants are recommended to be placed on first molars that usually erupt around six years of age, and second molars that are estimated to erupt around twelve years of age. Sealants are also recommended for adult who may have missed this preventive treatment as a child.
The application of a sealant is quick and painless. No dental anesthetic is required. The tooth is isolated with cotton rolls and dried. The sealant material is brushed directly onto the chewing surface of the tooth and is dried with a curing light. The material protects the deep grooves of the teeth where food and plaque commonly accumulate. Sealants will be evaluated at following dental appointments, and may need to be reapplied. Ask your dentist about sealants at your next dental appointment.