Teeth have plenty of ridges and tiny crevices where decay-causing bacteria can hide. A dental sealant helps fill in tiny defects and smooth over rough areas, making it much harder for bacteria to cling to the tooth surface. At First Impressions Dental Care, Dr. Rick Sodergren and Dr. Deborah Gur-Arie help patients from Renton, Washington prevent tooth decay by applying state-of-the-art sealants following a routine dental cleaning. Sealants go on quickly, and there’s no need for numbing.
Dental sealants are a protective solution that’s applied to the surfaces of the teeth, sealing tiny fissures and crevices so teeth are protected from decay. Sealants help prevent harmful bacteria from entering the teeth, minimizing the risk of cavities.
Sealants are applied in a simple process that takes just a few minutes. Usually, they’re applied right after a dental cleaning to ensure the tooth surfaces are free of any debris, including sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits. Then, Dr. Sodergren or Dr. Gur-Arie apply a conditioning solution to the teeth. The solution makes it easier for the sealant to adhere to the tooth surfaces. Finally, the sealant itself is applied and then dried using a special light designed to harden or cure the sealant material. Some sealants dry and cure without using a light. Drying and curing takes just a few moments. After the sealants are applied, you’ll need to wait about half an hour before biting or chewing to ensure the sealants are hard and securely adhered.
Not usually. In most cases, dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, where tiny cracks or crevices are more likely to be found. The sealant helps smooth out these areas between the grooves and ridges of the chewing surfaces. The sides of teeth are smooth, which means it’s easier to keep these areas free of debris with regular brushing and flossing.
With proper care -- which includes avoiding biting or chewing on hard foods and objects -- sealants can last for years. At each office visit, the sealants will be evaluated to determine when they need to be reapplied in order to preserve their integrity.
Yes, sealants can be very helpful in preventing decay in baby teeth so your child doesn’t have to suffer from tooth pain. Plus, baby teeth serve as placeholders for adult teeth. When they fall out early or need to be pulled due to decay, your child may be more likely to have serious crowding or alignment issues. Preventing decay in baby teeth also helps avoid infections and damage that can spread to the developing adult teeth under the gums.