Sealants & Fluorides

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria builds up in the small grooves on the surface of your teeth, forming an acid that eats into the bone and forms small holes. If left untreated, these holes can deepen and damage the more delicate inner layers of your teeth. Even with good dental hygiene habits, bacteria can cling to the hard-to-reach areas on your teeth and cause issues without you even realizing it.

Sealants and fluorides are both a kind of varnish that covers these grooves on the surface of your teeth to avoid decay before it happens. This protects and covers the hard-to-reach areas of your smile so that, alongside consistent and thorough dental hygiene habits and trips to the dentist for checkups, it becomes more difficult for cavities to form.



Sealants are a thin, protective coating made of special medical-grade plastic material that attaches directly to the chewing surface of your teeth. Many think of sealants as a kind of raincoat for your teeth, offering some protection against the acids that cause tooth decay. In fact, studies have shown that sealants can reduce your risk of tooth decay in the molars by nearly 80%.

However, even raincoats don’t keep you perfectly dry on their own. The same goes for sealants. This coating needs to be paired with proper oral hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist to ensure you’re getting the most out of your sealant treatment.


Getting sealants is a painless, quick and simple process. Your dentist will first dry the area before placing a mild acid gel on the surface of your teeth. This gel slightly roughs up the surface of the tooth so that the sealants can bond securely.

After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry the tooth one last time before applying the sealant directly into the grooves of your teeth. Then, our dentists will take a special blue light to harden the sealant, bonding it to your teeth.

Once they’re on, sealants won’t move around. Instead, they act as a semi-permanent coating around your teeth that you won’t even realize is there.


Sealants can benefit individuals of all ages, but the earlier you get them applied, the better. We recommend that children get sealants around age six when the first permanent molars erupt. More sealants can be applied when the second permanent molars come into the mouth, generally around age twelve.

The reason we recommend getting sealants so early is that children are at particularly high risk for cavities and tooth decay, simply because many of them do not yet have an effective dental hygiene regimen. Not only that but since sealants can last from childhood into adulthood, there’s little reason to wait!


Sealants can last a lifetime with the right conditions and thorough dental hygiene, but typically, they will last up to nine years unless they wear or fall off at some point. You won’t be able to tell that your sealants are there, but this also means that you probably won’t notice when they’ve fallen off. This is why it’s so important to keep up with regularly scheduled dental checkups so we can evaluate the condition of your sealants and replace them if necessary.


Fluoride is a mineral in your bones and teeth that can also be naturally found in water, soil, plants, rocks and even the air. In the United States, fluoride is also added to public water supplies in a process called water fluoridation.


In the field of dentistry, we primarily use fluoride to strengthen your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth. You will also find fluoride in dental products such as toothpaste, mouthwashes and supplements.

If you tend to get a lot of cavities, your dentist may prescribe additional fluoride treatments. These usually take the form of a fluoride rinse that has a higher concentration of the mineral than other over-the-counter products.


As mentioned above, fluoride’s primary use is in the strengthening of your tooth enamel, keeping them strong and resistant to harmful bacteria. However, this mineral also has other positive effects on your oral and overall health, including:

  • Rebuilding weakened enamel
  • Preventing the loss of tooth enamel
  • Reversing early signs of tooth decay
  • Preventing the development of harmful bacteria and acids

According to the CDC, the use of fluoride in public water systems and dental hygiene products directly led to an almost 70% decrease in missing or decaying teeth in twelve-year-old children in the United States. That said, exposure to high levels of fluoride can lead to certain negative effects or health issues, so you should always consult with your dentist before combining too many forms of fluoride treatments in hopes of protecting your teeth.


If you’d like more information about sealants or fluoride treatments, call our offices today at (919) 847-8413 or schedule a consultation online. Our dedicated team would be happy to assist you in any way we can.

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