How and Why are Dental Sealants Applied
Dental sealants are a plastic coating dentists put on the surface of the teeth to protect them from decaying. Typically, they are put on the back most teeth, the molars and the premolars.
Why do dentists apply dental sealants?
On the top of the molars and premolars, there are grooves called “fissures.” The grooves can easily trap food and debris making them vulnerable to decaying. This is true especially if the fissures are deep, which makes them even more difficult to keep clean. Sometimes a toothbrush can’t reach the debris or particles in order to remove them. Once the dentist cleans the teeth and makes sure there isn’t anything trapped in the deeper grooves, they can apply dental sealants to help keep food and substances from getting trapped in these pitted regions. Ultimately, sealants protect the surface of the teeth and prevent tooth decay.
When will dental sealants be placed on teeth?
Usually, dental sealants will be placed on when the first permanent molars appear. Once the top of the tooth has emerged from the gum and can easily be reached by the dentist’s instruments, the sealant will be applied. The molars and premolars emerge until sometime between 11 and 13 years of age. The wisdom teeth may also be candidates for applying the sealant, but they do not come in until much later. Of course, sealants can be applied on older patients as long as the teeth do not have sealants or fillings already.