What are sealants? If you look closely at your teeth you can see they don’t have a flat surface, instead they consist of many grooves and pits. Decay can easily start in these grooves since sometimes even brushing won’t get these areas completely clean. Food particles and bacteria will stick deep into the grooves and cause decay.
Before this happens you can have sealants placed to prevent decay form growing in these areas and prevent potential future problems that would result in more invasive procedures such as root canals, dental crowns or extraction of teeth.
Dental sealants are used to prevent decay on the chewing surfaces of our teeth. Sealants are made of a white plastic material that flows into the grooves, pits and fissures of our teeth and seals them. This will prevent food particles and bacteria from getting deep down and start decay. Sometimes sealants may come off or get leaky in which case they need to be re-applied. This is why sometimes even with having sealants placed decay can happen if the sealant is poorly placed or has come off.
Sealants are highly recommended in children 6 yrs of age or older which have their permanent molars erupted. This is a good time to place sealants since the molars have just erupted and we can prevent cavities in these molars which are permanent. Adults can also get their molars sealed for prevention only if the teeth have not already been decayed or filled. Sealants cannot be placed on top of decay or existing dental fillings.
If you do have sealants placed make sure to ask our dentist to check the sealants periodically for leakage and for replacement, if required. In some cases the molar teeth don’t have the deep pits and grooves and are more flat and uniform. In these cases sealants are not recommended since it is easy to brush these teeth thoroughly and also the sealant has no place to flow and stick to, so if placed it will come off easily.
How are sealants placed?
Dr. Jafarifar will examine your teeth and will place sealants if necessary. She’ll first use a very fine bur to go through the pits and fissures of your teeth. This is done to slightly open up these grooves for better retention of the sealant.
Then she will prepare the grooves with a low concentration acid etchant which will get the enamel ready for bonding the sealant. The sealant is then placed into the grooves and light cured. This will dry the sealant immediately. The bite will be checked and adjusted to make sure the sealant is not interfering with your normal bite. There is no need for anesthesia for this procedure. It only takes a few minutes to get your sealants placed.