Sealants in Lafayette, IN
Sealants are thin, composite resin ( a special type of plastic) coatings that are applied to the chewing surface of teeth. They are used to fill deep grooves in your teeth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. These deep grooves often accumulate plaque even when thoroughly brushed. This plaque buildup will lead to decay formation. By sealing the deep grooves with a protective coating decay can be prevented. Sealants are typically placed on molars as they generally have the deepest grooves. Generally, sealants are only placed on permanent teeth.
It is ideal to place sealants on children as soon as the permanent molars are fully erupted. The first permanent molars usually start to appear in the mouth around six years of age, with the second molars erupting later around twelve years of age. Sealants typically provide the teeth with several years of protection from decay, but may wear or chip off of the teeth and require replacement periodically.
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded function dental assistant. Sealant placement only requires a couple of minutes per tooth and it does not require any shots or numbing of the teeth. First, the teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned with pumice (similar to sand) and a brush that is designed to reach deep into the grooves of your teeth. A special cleaner is then applied to the surface to aid in the bonding of the sealant to the tooth. Once the cleaner is rinsed from the tooth the teeth are dried and the sealant material is placed. The sealant is placed deep into the grooves of the teeth and not onto the areas of the teeth where contact is made with opposing teeth. A special light is then shined onto the sealant so that the material cures (becomes hard). Lastly, we verify that your bite did not change and you are free to go and eat or drink immediately.