Dental sealants are a very effective tool in the prevention of cavities. Dental sealants are a thin plastic film or coating that is applied to the surface of teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier between the tooth and food, bacteria and plaque; all of which can cause cavities. Sealants successfully prevent bacterial formation that causes tooth decay and other damage.
The dental sealant procedure takes a few minutes for each tooth. The dentist or hygienist cleans the tooth and paints the plastic sealant on to the enamel. This coating works like a barrier to prevent plaque from attacking the enamel. A special light may be used to speed the hardening and bonding process. As long as the sealant remains intact and in good condition, the surface of the tooth will remain protected.
Combined with good oral hygiene that includes brushing and flossing, sealants are extremely effective in preventing cavities. Sealants can help both adults and children, and may need to be re-applied every few years.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine