At Arguello Dentistry we believe sealants are a underutilized tool to keep your oral health as easily manageable as possible. Sealant application is a procedure where the pits and fissures found on the biting surfaces of teeth are coated with a material so that it is easier to clean. To draw a parallel- imagine the caulk placed in the cracks of bathrooms. The caulk helps to stop any leaking and makes cleaning easier- the premise with sealants is very much the same. The grooves and pits on your teeth can often be hard places to clean with your standard toothbrush, sealants will help that! Various studies have been performed on the effectiveness of sealants on caries- also known as cavities. The study “Sealants for Preventing and Arresting Pit-and-fissure Occlusal Caries in Primary and Permanent Molars” investigated the efficacy of sealants on both primary (baby) and permanent teeth and the findings concluded that sealants helped to prevent and also stop the progression of caries in teeth that did not already have cavities.
So, who are they made for? It is true that sealants are often associated with children but this is due to children having deeper pits and fissures than most adults. This makes them more susceptible to cavities and it is why they are often recommended for younger individuals. As we age we begin to see some wearing of the biting surfaces of teeth that leads to a new “landscaping” of the areas where we chew. Depending on the individual some of these pits and fissures may not be as deep, while others may continue to have deeper pits. Those that do will be at risk for caries and sealants are still a viable option at preventing future caries on those biting surface. It will also aid in keeping teeth clean. I personally have 2 on my third molars because food use to accumulate in them.
What are they made of? Sealants are made of a very similar material as that found in tooth colored fillings. The process of application is very similar to a tooth colored filling without the anesthetic application as drilling is often not needed.
Will my teeth feel different? Your teeth should not feel any different and if they do the feeling should be negligible. Sealants should feel as if there is nothing there when in fact there is a fine layer of material covering and protecting those hard to clean pits of your teeth.
What teeth need sealants? Sealants are recommended for any posterior teeth, that means any teeth that are located in the back half of the mouth starting from the premolars going back. If you are still wondering if sealants are worth it or if they have any efficacy in your mouth just think of this. Do you want to make your life easier when you brush? Sealants will do that.
For further reading please check out this link from the American Dental Association.