Sealants

What causes tooth decay?

Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque. Plaque bacteria use sugar and starch in food as a source of energy. The bacteria convert the sugar or starch into harmful acids that attack tooth enamel for as long as 20 minutes or more. Repeated attacks may cause the enamel to break down, resulting in cavities.

What is a sealant?

A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This plastic material into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. When the back teeth are developing, pits and fissures form in the chewing surfaces of the enamel. They are impossible to keep clean, because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach into them. Pits and fissures are places for plaque and food to collect! In fact, most cavities form in pit and fissure areas, and back teeth are extremely susceptible to this form of decay. By forming a thin covering over the pits and fissures, sealants keep out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay.

Why are sealants necessary?

A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This plastic material bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

How are sealants applied?

It usually takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then ‘painted’ on the the tooth enamel, and bonds directly to the tooth by shining a special light on it.

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