Dental sealants are used to protect the chewing surface of teeth from decay. They are used on the surface of the permanent back teeth, the premolars and molars, to help protect these teeth from decay that will occur from chewing and eating food regularly.
While not permanent, dental sealants do last up to 7-10 years. They will chip away with time, but they can be replaced and repaired as needed. They have been in wide use since the early 1970s and their effects are proven.
Not everyone will need dental sealants, but they can be placed for children & teens. They are used on molar and premolar teeth that have deep grooves (or “fissures”) on the chewing surface. These grooves make the teeth more vulnerable to decay since they are known for holding in food particles and bacteria and can make the teeth a bit harder to clean properly.
These grooves can be narrower than even one single bristle on your toothbrush, which is why they are so difficult to clean. While fluoride helps prevent decay all over the tooth, having a dental sealant in the grooved and pitted areas will prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria that will harm your teeth.
The first dental sealants will usually be recommended for your child, if they need them, once the chewing surface of a permanent molar/premolar has erupted completely on top of the gum’s surface. They still require brushing and cleaning as normal, and dental sealants will not entirely prevent cavities–although they will help improve the tooth’s overall health and cleanliness.
To learn more about dental sealants in Olympia and Tacoma, contact our office today.