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Dental Sealants: What Are They and How Long Do They Last?

Applying dental sealants is a very simple process that is often recommended to protect teeth from decay. It only takes a few minutes to apply and is intended to protect the teeth for several years so is often seen as a routine part of dental care.

A sealant is a thin, liquid plastic coating, which is painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth, usually the molars and premolars (the back teeth). Sealants dry to form a hard protective layer on the surface of the tooth, preventing bacteria from collecting in the grooves and fissures of the tooth, which is a cause of tooth decay.

Sealants will usually protect teeth for up to ten years, but your dentist will regularly check them and any that are chipped or worn will be replaced as necessary. Check whether your dental insurance covers sealants, as many insurance companies include these as part of your plan.

Who Needs Dental Sealants?

Children and teenagers are most often given sealants to protect their teeth throughout the years when tooth decay and cavities are common, typically between the ages of six and fourteen. Sometimes, adults who do not have tooth decay have sealants put onto teeth to avoid decay developing. Although baby teeth do not need to last as long as adult teeth, they are important for holding the correct spacing in the mouth. For this reason, on occasion, baby teeth may be sealed if they have particularly deep grooves or depressions and might otherwise be likely to decay.

How are Dental Sealants Applied to Teeth?

  1. The teeth that are to be sealed will first be thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Each tooth will be dried and protected by an absorbent material to keep it dry.
  3. An acid solution will be applied to the surface of each tooth to be sealed. This solution roughens the surface of the teeth to allow the sealant to bond more effectively to it.
  4. The teeth will be rinsed and dried again.
  5. Liquid plastic sealant will be painted onto the tooth enamel, where it will bond directly to the tooth and harden – often with the use of a special curing light.

Sealants will usually be applied as a matter of course, during your routine dental appointments. Children should be seen regularly by a dentist from an early age, to prevent problems developing and to encourage good oral hygiene, and the application of sealants will often be recommended to protect your child’s teeth as they grow.

First Class Family Dentist in Cork

Are you looking for a friendly and experienced family dental practice in Cork? Guiney Dental Practice offers you a wealth of professional dental practitioners who can care for your teeth and help to keep you and your family smiling. To make an appointment, call the Guiney Dental Practice today on 021-481 0535.


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