Regular brushing and flossing do a great job of preventing tooth decay, but there is something more you can do to keep your teeth healthy. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are placed on the teeth to provide an extra level of protection.
Though brushing and flossing (and even mouth rinse) do a good job of cleaning the teeth, there are surfaces called fissures in the molar and premolar teeth that are difficult to clean thoroughly. Because they are so deep and narrow, it’s easy for plaque to accumulate in these areas, making them vulnerable to decay. Dental sealants cover these fissures, creating a smooth surface that is easy to clean and helps to discourage the build-up of food particles and plaque.
Teeth must first be cleaned and dried before receiving the sealants. An acidic solution will be applied to the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing (occlusal) surface for a few seconds before it is rinsed off. This causes the surface to roughen, helping the sealants to attach more closely to the tooth. The tooth is then dried again before the sealant is placed on in liquid form. It is then hardened with a special light. Teeth that have been treated with dental sealants can be used as normal. Sealants can last for many years and can be replaced, if necessary. Regular maintenance, such as brushing and flossing, are still important for healthy teeth and equally important is to find the right dental sealants near you.