Dental sealants, also known as tooth sealants, are an effective preventive measure that protects the newly erupted teeth from early tooth decay.
The first permanent teeth erupt at the age of 5–7 (sixth, molars). Children at this age still do not have good skills to brush their teeth properly. The fissures of newly erupted teeth are not completely mineralized and very often are extremely deep and narrow; therefore, this leads to favorable conditions for plaque to accumulate and for decay to develop.
Dental sealants are a specific fluoride-containing varnish that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth, where it fills the fissures and thus prevents the accumulation of plaque. Moreover, fluoride ions, which are released after sealant application, enhance the mineralization process of the fissures and strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
It is a painless procedure, and it takes usually about 20 minutes to complete.
First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned with a special paste, then an acidic solution that helps the dental sealant better adhere to the surface of the tooth is applied, and the dental sealant is placed and hardened by using an LED curing light.
What Else Should Be Known About the Procedure?
During an oral examination, it is determined if a dental sealant is needed to be placed. It is contraindicated:
- If the teeth are already decay-damaged; first, the teeth have to be treated.
- If the fissures of the tooth are shallow and well mineralized.