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Preventive Dental Care: Sealants

Aug 23, 2020
What is Preventive Dental Care? Preventive dental care is dental care that will prevent a cavity or a serious oral health condition. Doing this in your home such as brushing, flossing, oral rinses,...

What is Preventive Dental Care?

Preventive dental care is dental care that will prevent a cavity or a serious oral health condition. Doing this in your home such as brushing, flossing, oral rinses, and good nutrition are ways to help prevent disease of the oral cavity. Being diligent on a good oral hygiene routine will greatly improve your overall health as well. Getting regular check-ups and getting dental work that is recommended done promptly also helps prevent more serious cavities and other treatments from occurring. It is recommended that children start going to the dentist around age two (2). By doing this the child is introduced to the dental health professionals and becomes accustomed to the sounds and feels of getting their teeth cleaned or “counted” by the dentist. Dental sealants can be done on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth. Ask your Dentist in Scottsdale about when to have sealants done on your child.

What Preventive Procedures Are Done In The Office?

As mentioned, regular dental health check-ups that include cleanings, fluoride treatments, and exams, will prevent serious cavities from getting any larger and needing root canal treatment or even extracted. In addition to keeping up on cavities, the gums need to be monitored as well. Gingivitis is the beginning of periodontal disease but can be easily treated and prevented by brushing and flossing. Over the counter oral rinses and toothpaste can help keep your gums clean and free of disease. As with any disease, early detection can stop it in its tracks. Bone loss is permanent but preventable. Typically, a set of x-rays will be taken during the check-up to see the bone, in between the teeth, and surrounding bone structures.

Oral Hygiene Instruction (OHI) is the most popular preventive treatment that you can take home and do. You have control over that part. There is one thing though that you don’t have control over and that is how your teeth form when they are growing. The back teeth form in lobes that come together to create the biting surfaces of the tooth. Sometimes these lobes create pits. The grooves and pits can cause cavities on the biting surface of the teeth or in the pits that can form along the tongue or cheek surfaces as well. Tiny cavities will start in these pits regardless of how much you brush or floss. At the check-up appointment, these tiny cavities can be detected by the dentist and dental sealants will be added to the treatment plan. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 43% of children in the United States have had sealants done. School-aged children are three times more likely to have cavities without sealants.

What Are Dental Sealants Made Of?

Sealants are made of a plastic material and are applied in a thin layer over the pits and grooves of the biting surfaces of the back teeth. They can be clear or a white resin material that is not permanent but will wear away as the teeth continue to form as the child ages. Later either more sealants can be applied or a small composite (tooth-colored) filling can be placed.

How Are Sealants Placed?

Usually, the tooth is kept dry using cotton rolls that are placed on the tongue and cheek side of the mouth. Keeping the tooth dry will help the material adhere to the tooth better. The material stays by mechanically sticking to the pits and grooves of the tooth but also the tooth is prepared using a gentle etching to help it chemically adhere. The surface is then light-cured and the sealant is set and you can eat right after they are put on. If there is excess material on the surface of the tooth it will wear off and only the deep grooves and pits will be sealed. No drilling or anesthetic should be needed. It is important to keep the tooth dry so a rubber dam may be used and a topical anesthetic around the gums.

How Long Will A Dental Sealant Last?

If the sealant is placed properly and good oral hygiene is practiced, the sealant should last for several years. They will be checked at each dental exam and the dentist will recommend replacing when they start to break down.


Having a dental sealant procedure done should prevent decay from continuing to grow or even starting. Most dental insurances will cover sealants 100%. Check with your dental office professionals at a Dentist in Scottsdale to make sure they are covered once you get a diagnosis and recommendation for dental sealants. Sealants are fairly easy and quick procedures. Typically performed by the chairside assistant and sometimes with help from another dental health professional in the office to make the procedure even more accurate and speedy.