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Dental Sealants

Treatment Overview

A dental sealant is a strong liquid-plastic material that helps protect teeth from plaque. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. The bacteria in plaque use sugars in food to make acids. These acids can damage the tooth's surface and cause tooth decay.

The sealant is put on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). These teeth are more likely to develop tooth decay because food and bacteria easily get stuck in the pits and grooves of the surface. Some pits and grooves are so small that a toothbrush can't clean them out.

Sealants bond to the tooth's enamel. Enamel is the hard surface of the tooth. It covers the dentin, which protects and surrounds the tooth pulp. The pulp is the core of the tooth, the place where nerves and blood vessels are.

A dental sealant does not take the place of good dental care and use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. It's still important to brush and floss daily.

Sealants can be used in children, starting at about age 6, and in teens and adults.

How long it lasts

Dental sealants may wear down over time, but they can protect teeth from decay for years. Your dentist can check them and reapply them if needed.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Related Links

Basic Dental Care Dental Checkups for Children and Adults Tooth Decay

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