A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating of resin material that is placed in the pits and fissures (or grooves) on the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent cavities.
When do you place a sealant? Usually when someone is 6-12 years old. This is when the molars are newly erupted and hasn’t had the chance to form any cavities.
Is a sealant the same as a filling? No. A sealant is placed to prevent a cavity, and no enamel is removed in order to place it.
How do sealants prevent cavities? The grooves on the tops of molars are often too small for toothbrush bristles to clean. Plaque is able to sit undisturbed and form cavities. Filling the grooves with a sealant (as seen in the picture above) creates a shallow easy to clean surface.
Do you have to be numb to get a sealant? No! Getting a a sealant is a quick and painless process. They are placed on top of the tooth, so you do not need to be numb.
Can I still get a cavity after I get a sealant? According to the CDC, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
If you have any questions about if sealants are right for you, don’t hesitate to ask!