What are Sealants?

A sealant is a thin coating of restorative material placed on the top chewing surface of the teeth. The thin layer will flow into the deepest grooves of the tooth and prevent bacterial build up in the deep grooves. The deepest grooves commonly known as deep pits and wide fissures can be found in molars and are hard to access during routine brushing at home. Therefore allowing for bacteria to flourish and cause cavities in the deep grooves. Sealants are typically recommended for pediatric and teenage patients. This preventive treatment will help patients maintain good oral health by preventing tooth decay. Sealants are recommended for molars and some premolars.

As noted in the literature, a recent study indicated “that children and adolescents who receive sealants in sound occlusal surfaces or non cavitated pit-and-fissure carious lesions in their primary or permanent molars (compared with a control without sealants) experienced a 76% reduction in the risk of developing new carious lesions after two years of follow-up.”

The standard procedure is as follows: the tooth is cleaned with an antibacterial etch solution that primes the enamel and then the sealant is painted onto the surface of the tooth and hardened with a blue light. The sealant will feel hard to the patient. It is normal that as the child’s jaw grows and occlusion changes due to standard wear and chewing on the tooth that the sealant may also wear away after a few years. The best time to do this soon after the eruption of the first molars once all the gingival tissue has stabilized before caries (cavities) develop. This is recommended in patients with high caries risk. A child can be at high caries risk if he/she has low fluoride exposure in water or toothpaste, high sugar consumption, irregular dental care, or high caries activity. 

So remember, Sealants protect against cavities! For any additional questions, contact us at Metropolitan Dental Care at 646-355-0933.

Author
Dr. Leelah Jaberi, DDS

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