Brushing and flossing are excellent habits to keep to prevent tooth decay and cavities. For extra protection, dental sealants can be applied. These thin, plastic coatings are usually applied to the molars and premolars, which have grooves that are difficult to clean and are therefore more susceptible to decay.
Having sealants applied is a fast and easy procedure. First, the teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and dried. A liquid solution will then be applied on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth and cured using a special light. The teeth can be used as normal about half an hour after the procedure. The sealants act as a barrier between the teeth and debris, protecting the enamel from plaque and acids. Reapplication may be needed, but sealants can last several years.
Although sealants are commonly used on children in the cavity-prone years of six to 14, adults without decay or fillings can also benefit from this treatment. It should be noted that sealants are not a substitute for brushing teeth. Proper oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings) should still be maintained.
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