Dental sealants consist of a plastic material that is placed on the chewing surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from bacteria and acids that contribute to tooth decay. The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves or "fissures" that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean and can be narrower than a single bristle of a toothbrush. Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop.
Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply sealant to each tooth. After a few simple preparatory steps, he or she will paint the acrylic coating onto the tooth enamel where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden. Once set, the sealant protects the enamel of your teeth from plaque and acid, and lasts for several years.
If you are interested in having sealants applied at your next visit, contact Family Dentistry at Riverside Crossing at 864-479-0894.