Sealants are a composite materials that are flowed into or painted into the grooves found on the chewing surface of one’s teeth. They are related in substance to the white fillings, known as composite fillings, but the sealants are either clear or slightly white in color. Thus they are cosmetic in appearance.
The purpose of the sealants is to prevent decay from starting in the grooves of the teeth where it occurs most frequently. It is important to know that sealants cannot be placed between the teeth where one tooth touches another- for that, one must rely on flossing to keep these areas healthy.
Sealants are a very easy treatment. They do not require local anesthetic injections, do not require drilling and are cured instantly so one can eat and it should feel normal immediately after they are completed.
Sealants are as safe as they are simple. They last a considerable amount of time as it has been reported that sixty percent of the sealants last six years or more. It has been experienced in our office that when the molars of young people are protected that the individual goes off to college with the sealants intact and still protecting against tooth decay.
Are sealants for everyone? Sealants are recommended for practically all children. Sealants as mentioned are placed on the back teeth but they are specifically for adult molars in children –not necessarily baby teeth- and those teeth must not have decay for they will need an actual filling. Adults, too, can benefit from sealants but more rarely as adults have less frequency with tooth decay and more experience with gum disease.
It is common for dental insurance to assist in paying for sealants but only if the sealants are done before a certain age of the patient. So don’t delay! Regardless, the cost of a sealant is less than the cost of a filling or restoration and for only a fraction of the effort.