Dental Sealant

Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. The sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.

For children, cavities are a common problem that begins at an early age. Tooth decay affects nearly a fifth of 2–4-year-olds, more than half of 8-year-olds, and more than three-fourths of 17-year-olds.

Dental sealants are a plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. According to the CDC, they are a safe, effective way to prevent cavities among schoolchildren, by providing a physical barrier so that cavity-causing bacteria cannot invade the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.


When should my child get dental sealants?

  • First permanent molars erupt into the mouth at about age 6 years. Placing sealants on these teeth shortly after they erupt protects them from developing caries in areas of the teeth where food and bacteria collect. If sealants were applied routinely to susceptible tooth surfaces in conjunction with the appropriate use of fluoride, most tooth decay in children could be prevented. 
  • Second permanent molars erupt into the mouth at about age 12 years. Pit and fissure surfaces of these teeth are as susceptible to dental caries as the first permanent molars of younger children. Therefore, young teens need to receive dental sealants shortly after the eruption of their second permanent molars.

The Dental Sealant Procedure:

The dental sealant procedure is usually performed on baby teeth soon after they erupt, and repeated at regular intervals over the years. Since the sealant is gradually lost through natural wear and tear of the teeth, the application must be repeated to remain effective.

First, Dr. Geeta will clean the teeth, dry them and apply a slightly acidic solution that is designed to help the sealant bond to the tooth surface. Then, each tooth is "painted" with a very thin layer of the sealant coating. Since the coating is clear or white, it blends easily with the natural tooth color.

Typically, Dr. Geeta will use a high-intensity curing light to harden the sealant after it has been painted on your teeth. Sealants can last for many years, but they should be checked regularly and assessed for possible re-application.


Do dental sealants replace fluoride?

No. Fluorides, such as those used in community water, toothpaste, gels, varnish, and mouth rinse also help to prevent decay. Fluoride works best on the smooth surfaces of teeth. The chewing surfaces on the back teeth, however, have tiny grooves where decay often begins. Sealants keep cavity-causing bacteria out of the grooves by covering them with a safe plastic coating. Sealants and fluorides work together to prevent tooth decay.


See Dr. Geeta for right advice regarding your child’s dental care.

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