Dental sealants are used to protect teeth from decay and can be applied as soon as a tooth erupts. A clear plastic material is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back of the teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. It acts as a barrier to protect decay-prone areas. Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult, and sometimes impossible to clean the tiny grooves and pits on the teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these depressions making decay inevitable in some cases.
Each tooth takes only a few minute to seal. First, Dr. Shannon will clean the teeth, dry them and apply a slightly acidic solution that is designed to help the sealant bond to the tooth surface. Then, each tooth is "painted" with a very thin layer of the sealant coating. Since the coating is clear or white, it blends easily with the natural tooth color. Dr. Shannon will then use a high-intensity curing light to harden the sealant after it has been painted on your teeth.
For more than 30 years now, sealants have been proven to dramatically reduce cavities in the most vulnerable tooth surfaces. Although they last for years, the sealant is gradually lost through natural wear and tear of the teeth, sometimes requiring repeat application to remain effective. Dr. Shannon will check them regularly and assess the need for possible re-application.