A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars (back teeth) and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth.  More than 90% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves.  Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay.  A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants actually were developed about 50 years ago, but didn't become commonly used until the 1970s. Today, sealants are very popular and effective; young children are great candidates for preventative measures like sealants because in many cases, decay has not set in.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay on the average for 3 to 7 years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits. Eating taffy/sticky foods can break the integrity of the sealants and can require frequent applications.  Dr. Milt and/or Aileen will assess for these conditions at regular check-up visits.


Reasons for sealants:

  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.


What do sealants involve?

Sealants are easily applied by Dr. Milt or Aileen and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry.  A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth.  The teeth are then rinsed and dried.  Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions.  Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.