What are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a very thin layer of filling material that we use to fill-in the deep grooves of teeth – usually molars. The reason we fill or “seal” these deep grooves –is because deep grooves in teeth tend to collect food debris and bacteria that over time can lead to tooth decay. The idea is that if we seal the grooves with a filling material (similar to the material we use in a composite or white filling), we can prevent this buildup and hopefully prevent decay.
When are Sealants Placed?
Sealants are most often placed at around ages 5-7 for the adult first molars and 11-13 for the adult second molars because these are approximately the times when the first and second molars come into the mouth. We tend to seal molars because these are the adult teeth that will be in the mouth long-term and have the deepest grooves.
Should Other Teeth Be Sealed?
Yes and no. Teeth other than molars can have deep grooves, and we seal these teeth on a case-by-case basis. If a patient has a tooth that has very deep grooves, but has very little or no history of tooth decay, then we may not seal the tooth. However, in a child that is prone to cavities, we might seal a tooth to help minimize the risk of decay in the future.