Why should sealants be placed?
The back teeth normally form with deep pits and fissures (grooves) on their biting surface. These areas are much more susceptible to decay because plaque (bacteria) and food are not easily removed from these areas. Even patients who have excellent oral hygiene are at risk for decay in these crevices. If these teeth are sealed while they are still healthy, a cavity can be prevented. Once a tooth gets a cavity it is compromised forever.
What is a sealant?
Dental sealants are a tooth colored resin that is flowed into the pits and fissures after they have been thoroughly cleaned out. This material bonds to the tooth after a special curing light is used to harden the sealant material. The sealant will then serve to block plaque and food from getting into the deep grooves on the biting surface of the tooth.
At what age should a tooth be sealed?
As soon as the tooth has erupted enough so that it can be kept dry during the procedure, and the patient can cooperate, it should be sealed. This age will vary from patient to patient. Teeth can look normal on the surface and still be starting to decay, so the earlier the better.
Who places the sealant?
Although dental assistants are allowed to place sealants by themselves, Dr. Solar always works with a dental assistant to get the best possible results.
Do the teeth need to be numbed for this procedure?
The patient does not need to have anesthesia for this treatment.