A dental sealant is a clear or white, liquid-plastic material put on
the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant bonds into the depressions
and grooves (pits and fissures) of teeth and protects them from
tooth decay and
cavities. Although children and teens usually use
sealants, adults can use them, too.
To put in a sealant, your dentist or dental hygienist will place a
cotton roll around your teeth to absorb saliva and prevent moisture from
getting on the teeth. A sheet of rubber (rubber dam) may be used to isolate the
teeth. The dentist, dental hygienist, or a dental assistant will first apply
the solution that will glue the sealant to the tooth. After about a minute, he
or she will rinse off the excess glue, dry your teeth, and put on the sealant.
One type of sealant hardens very quickly through the use of a bright
light. The other hardens more gradually.
Sealants may wear down over a period of years. Your dentist should
check them regularly and reapply them if needed.
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