Dental Sealants

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

I am a firm believer that preventative care is the best approach for keeping a healthy smile. This includes routine cleanings, use of fluoride varnish and sealants among others.  “What are sealants?” many of our patients ask or you might hear us say: “I recommend to bur and seal a molar”. What does that actually mean? Well, given the development of our teeth, most of them have pits, fissures or grooves on the chewing surface.  Most common teeth to have prominent fissures are our premolars and molars.  These areas can be very deep and narrow making it a trap for dental plaque and it is the most common surface of cavity formation.  The diameter of a single toothbrush bristle is too thick to be able to clean these fissures.  In order to prevent cavities in this instance, we recommend to placing a sealant on these pits and fissures so they are filled up to tooth level.  When we “bur” a tooth out, we take our high speed instrument into these fissures and clean them from debris, plaque and stains.  The main characteristic of a sealant is that it stays all at the enamel level.  This also means that the process of placing a sealant, even when it the tooth has to be cleaned out, is always quick and painless!  Anyone can benefit from a sealant, from our pediatric to our adult patients. For more information on sealants, talk to your hygienist at your next visit!