Prevention is better than cure, any day. Similarly, Preventive dentistry is always better than restorative dentistry! And, Dental sealants or pit and fissure sealants are the heroes of preventive dentistry. In most cases when you get decay, you get a dentist to do a filling for you. However, fillings are considered restorative applications. A filling is used to repair the damage that has already occurred in the tooth, usually from dental decay. Once a decayed spot is discovered, a preventative filling cannot be placed. Both dental fillings and dental sealants are being used by a dentist to treat the teeth. But, a sealant can be used only if your tooth structure has not been compromised, in the first place. Sealants, on the other hand, are preventive. These sealants allow your tooth structure to remain intact and to keep your teeth as strong as possible.
Dental sealants are thin coatings, that can prevent cavities (tooth decay) for several years. A sealant can be placed on a tooth that does not have a cavity in its pits and grooves and protect the chewing surfaces from cavities by covering them with a defensive safeguard that blocks out germs and food. However, sealants protect only the surfaces of teeth, not between teeth, where many cavities also occur. Dental sealants are known to stop 80 percent of cavities for 2 years after application & continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. Sealants can be held in the mouth for as long as nine years. Extremely easy to apply, sealants are technique sensitive. The teeth to be sealed have to be thoroughly cleaned of all of the plaque and/or food particles, and minutely examined for any signs of tooth decay. The chewing surface should be conditioned with a cleaning solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth only after zero decay is established. Otherwise decay sealed below the sealant can give rise to a whole new set of problems.