What are sealants?
Sealants are a great preventive measure to help decrease the chances of getting decay in the pits and grooves of the adult posterior teeth. A sealant is a thin, plastic coating placed on an adult molar and/or premolar and acts like a "tablecloth" on the biting surface of the tooth. It creates a smooth surface which is easier to keep clean.
At our office, sealants are only applied by the dentist with the help of the dental assistant, rather than by a hygienist working alone, as is common to most dental practices. This is because it is a process that demands a dry environment for success. And, although the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth, without an assistant maintaining saliva-free conditions, there is an increased probability of a compromised restoration. The decision to place or not place sealants needs to be determined on an individual basis with consideration to the child's age, decay risk factors, and ability to help maintain a dry field.
We only use clear sealant material on adult teeth that have no stain. This allows us to visualize and consistently evaluate any changes that may occur underneath the sealed tooth. In our opinion, if we cannot achieve optimum conditions for sealant placement, it better to routinely monitor unsealed teeth rather than to seal them and therefore, increase the risk of breakdown or leakage and increase the likelihood of decay.
Proper home care, a balanced diet, avoiding sticky foods, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.