What are sealants? Many of us have heard of them, but are unsure as to what they are. Sealants are an easy and affordable way to prevent tooth decay (cavities). They are also sometimes called pit and fissure sealants. This is because a small amount of material is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth (where the pits and fissures are) to seal them off from the rest of the mouth. These pits and fissures can be deep and toothbrush bristles can’t always reach all the way in them, so they are extra susceptible to cavities. By sealing them off, you are decreasing your risk of getting cavities on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Sealants do not protect you from flossing surface cavities (the kind between your teeth) and just because the pits and fissures are sealed does not mean that you can’t still get cavities on the chewing surfaces of your teeth; they just help reduce your risk. It is still important to brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss between your teeth and under the gums at least once daily.
Sealants are most commonly placed on the permanent teeth of children shortly after they have erupted into the mouth, but sealants can be placed on anyone.
Sealants can be placed by your dentist, Registered Dental Hygienist, or Registered Dental Assistant. You don’t have to get numb to get sealants like you would for a filling or a crown. The process of placing them is quick and easy. They can last for several years. Getting sealants can save you time, money, and a potential future toothache.
Anna Goodenough, R.D.H.