A dental sealant is a strong, plastic, white or tooth-coloured coating that a dental hygienist applies to the grooves within the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). These grooves are called pit and fissures. A sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from bacterial plaque in these cavity-prone areas.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. The pits and fissures are extremely difficult places to clean. Toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the grooves to remove food and plaque completely. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.
The application of a sealant is easy, quick, and painless. No freezing or drilling is required. Sealants also cost less then having a cavity filled.
How sealants are applied:
- Teeth must be kept dry throughout the procedure. If the pits and fissures are wet, the sealant material may not adhere properly.
- After the teeth are cleaned and dried, the sealant is painted into the grooves.
- The sealant material is then hardened with a blue curing light.
- If too much material is added into the grooves, the excess can be polished away.