One of the most common places that tooth decay develops is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, the premolars and molars. These surfaces contain grooves or indentations called pits and fissures. Regular brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and bacteria from the smooth surfaces of tooth enamel. However, it’s difficult to keep the pits and fissures clean because toothbrush bristles can’t fully reach into the grooves of your back teeth. Dr. Abraham may recommend dental sealants to prevent the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of these teeth from developing tooth decay, shortly after the teeth come into the mouth during childhood and adolescence.
A dental sealant is a plastic material (or resin) that is applied to a chewing surface of a back tooth and acts as a barrier, protecting enamel by “sealing out” plaque and food. Sealants are easy to apply, and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. First, the teeth that will be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and prepared to accept the sealant. The sealant is then “painted” onto the tooth enamel and a special curing light is used to harden the sealant where it bonds directly to the tooth enamel. Sealants are generally clear or white and cannot be seen when you smile or talk.