How Do Sealants Work?
Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in your mouth mix with leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps keep them healthy longer.
How Are Sealants Applied?
It’s a quick and painless process. First, your teeth get clean and dry before placing a gel on your teeth. This gel roughens your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, the gel is rinsed off and your tooth is dried again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Then, a special blue light is used to harden the sealant.
Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?
Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, the condition of the sealant will be checked and can be ‘touched up’ as needed.