We place dental sealants on back teeth to help prevent them from getting cavities. Posterior dentition (back teeth) have grooves on the chewing surfaces. While fluoride hardens teeth, making them less susceptible to decay, fluoride cannot physically block debris from getting trapped in the grooves. Once trapped, that debris breaks down and becomes acidic … thus causing decay or cavities. A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating painted over the teeth by your dental professional. The sealant bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. This smooth protective shield prevents debris from being trapped in the grooves thus preventing the cause of decay.
Typically, we place sealants in children when their adult teeth start to erupt. This helps maintain their teeth through their cavity prone years of 6-14 years. But adults without decay can also benefit from sealants extending the life of their teeth well into their adult years.
Placing sealants is usually pretty simple. The tooth is dried and the plastic coating is painted on directly. A curing light hardens the material and you are done. Sealants can last for a decade or two and can easily be replaced if chipped or worn away. Also, most insurance benefits cover sealants for children up to their late teens. While insurance may not cover the cost for adults, sealants are inexpensive and very affordable. A small investment can save you much expense throughout our lifetime.