The back teeth (molars) do not have a smooth chewing surface. They consist of surface irregularities known as pits (round) and fissures (in the form of a line). These pits and fissures have some basic structure that is common to all. In certain individuals, there might be a few more fissures or they might be deeper than normally present.
Pits and fissures act as sites for the food to get stuck. The food then degrades in this safe haven and is a perfect site for the bad, acid producing bacteria to grow. These bacteria then lead to cavity formation. Pit and fissure cavities are the most common cavities.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are like a raincoat to the tooth. As a raincoat when worn protects against the rain and the external environment. The dental sealant protects the chewing surface of the tooth from the external environment and protects it from getting “wet” by food and subsequently, bacteria.
When would you need a dental sealant?
They can be applied as a:
Preventive measure (to protect teeth from cavity) in teeth with deep fissures. In children when they are at a high risk of caries or the oral hygiene practices are insufficient. In cases of initial cavity. A very initial cavity can be filled without drilling using a sealant rather than using conventional methods.
How are dental sealants applied?
Unlike conventional dental fillings that requires drilling to remove the damaged portion of the tooth, application of dental sealants require little or no drilling
Sealants are generally tooth colored. At times, the dentist might choose to use a transparent sealant (in case of an initial cavity) to check if the cavity has stopped expanding or is still continuing to damage the teeth.
The tooth is dried and cleaned. The sealant material is applied and then hardened using a blue light. After application of a sealant you do not need to wait and can eat/drink immediately.