Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. When you are six years old you have permanent back teeth that come in. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate food, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they are too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist or hygienist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy. If a sealant is done properly and right as that permanent tooth is coming in you could potentially keep that tooth protected from decay. You can also damage a tooth by putting on a sealant wrong or over decay which would seal that decay in the tooth and cause the decay to keep growing until you end up with a tooth ache or the dentist notices the decay on an x-ray. That is why it is important to see us at Heritage Dental Associates where we fully examine the tooth before applying the sealant and we check the sealant to make sure we have a good seal on the tooth.
You will need the dentist or hygienist to check these sealants every six months when you come into the dentist. You want to make sure the protective coating is still properly sealed to protect your teeth. Sealants only work when they are done properly and checked at your dental appointments. If the sealant comes out of place your dental hygienists will remove the old sealant at your appointment and check and make sure there is no decay. If the tooth is still healthy and shows no sign of decay she will replace the sealant with a new sealant. Sometimes when sealants chip food can get trapped under the remaining sealant and cause a cavity to start. If a cavity is detected the sealant would be removed and a cavity would be done to fix the tooth.