What are dental sealants?

A dental sealant is a thin, clear plastic material that coats a tooth to protect it from acid erosion and bacteria that cause tooth decay. Chewing surfaces of molars and pre-molars are vulnerable to decay because they are prone to fissures and deep grooves. A sealant fills these deep grooves and fissures of molars, allowing for easier oral hygiene because the tooth’s surface is smooth.

Did you know? More than 75% of dental decay occurs in the fissures and grooves of molars!

Warning: Sealants contain the highest levels of volatile BPA, which is possibly an estrogenic, hormone altering agent. In our opinion, sealants should only be used in children with high decay rates.

How is a dental sealant applied?

Applying a sealant is a non-invasive procedure, performed in a matter of minutes. Normally, our dental hygienists can apply a sealant in less than two minutes per tooth. The process is simple:

  1. Before applying a sealant, the tooth must be thoroughly cleaned of debris and bacteria.
  2. After cleansing the tooth, we’ll place cotton around it to keep the area dry.
  3. A special solution will be applied so that the sealant will adhere to tooth enamel.
  4. Our dental hygienist will precisely apply the sealant to the tooth.
  5. Sealants will harden within a matter of minutes, but we can use a curing light to speed the process. BPA free alternatives exist and should be requested from your dentist.

Are sealants the only way to protect teeth from decay?

Another option for strengthening your smile’s defenses is a fluoride treatment. Unlike sealants, fluoride can be administered to a tooth with existing decay, since the mineral does not seal off the tooth. Fluoride attracts other minerals that strengthen tooth enamel against acid erosion and decay. Dr. Gross offers many convenient forms of topical fluoride-free alternatives. Read more about the benefits of this treatment on our fluoride-free page.