Our practice philosophy is to preserve as much natural tooth structure whenever possible. This extends into all facets of our dentistry including: restorative, cosmetic and preventive procedures. In order to do this, we incorporate caries risk assessments, early cavity detection, and remineralization techniques. In addition, we utilize risk reduction protocols including mouthrinses to reduce acidity, linking diet and systemic health to teeth, fluoride incorporation, and resin sealants to proactively prevent decay. Finally, we use the latest in adhesive dentistry and material science to carry out this minimally invasive approach.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin, protective resin coating that adheres to the chewing surfaces of the back (molar) teeth to protect them from decay.
Why are dental sealants placed?
The deep grooves ("pits and fissures") in some molar teeth can act as a trap for food particles and bacteria. Due to their narrow size, these grooves often cannot be fully accessed and cleaned by the bristles of a toothbrush. As a result, these surfaces are prime candidates for tooth decay. Dental sealants protect the pits and grooves by providing a smooth covering and resisting bacterial accumulation.
How is a sealant placed?
A sealant is a routine procedure that can be completed in a single visit. Since tooth enamel does not contain nerve endings, anesthetic numbing injections are not necessary. First, the tooth is cleaned with a paste and rotating brush before being washed and dried. Next, an acidic gel (etchant) is applied and rinsed off. This gel microscopically roughens the surface and allows for adhesion of the sealant material. Finally, after the tooth is dried, the flowable sealant material is applied and hardened with a curing light. Once set, your bite will be checked, adjusted, and polished if needed.
How long do dental sealants last?
With proper care, dental sealants can last up to 10 years. Ever since sealants have been in use from the 1970s, many studies have shown them to be very effective in preventing decay on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (by up to 70%). If necessary, previous sealants may need to be replaced as they can wear down over time.