My Teeth are Sealed: An Interview with Dr. Karagiorgos

Have dental sealants recently been recommended to you or your child? Have you always wondered what dental sealants are, and how they are beneficial to teeth? Falmouth Dental Arts wants to answer all of your tooth-related questions so that you can feel confident and informed when you visit our office! Dr. Karagiorgos took some time to answer basic questions about dental sealants and explain the sealant process.

1. What are sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: Sealants are a dental material which fills in deep grooves in a tooth’s surface to minimize the opportunity for cavities to develop. 

2. Why should patients consider getting sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: The surfaces of the teeth toward the backs of our mouths have special surfaces with lots of small grooves, called pits and fissures. Pits and fissures help us grip food while we break it down when we chew. The size and depth of pits and fissures are different for everybody. However, deeper grooves often trap food particles and can promote the presence of bacterial film. This puts people with deep grooves at particular risk for cavities. 

As part of a comprehensive oral health approach, filling these deeper surfaces with a dental material such as sealants can help prevent cavities.

3. At what age do patients need sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: Because the likelihood of developing decay is highest for newly-erupted premolars and molars, children and teenagers are the ideal candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars would also benefit from sealants. 

While some children would benefit from sealants on their baby teeth, parents should seriously consider sealants for children on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. This typically starts around age six. The sooner the sealants can be applied to teeth, the sooner they can start protecting cavity-prone molars. 

4. What is the process of applying sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: Applying sealants is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for the dentist or hygienist to seal each tooth. Here are the five steps: 

  1. First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned. 
  2. After cleaning, each tooth is dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. The dentist or hygienist will put a gel on the chewing surface of the teeth which will roughen up the tooth’s enamel, helping the sealant bond to the teeth.
  4. The teeth are rinsed and dried. 
  5. The dentist or hygienist paints the sealant onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden faster. 

5. Does it hurt to get sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: No, not at all. Because all of the work is above the gum-line on the chewing surface of the teeth, patients don’t need to be numbed. This makes the sealant process fast, easy, and pain-free.


6. Is it fun to apply sealants? 

Dr. Karagiorgos: Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we promote great oral health habits for patients of all ages. Our goal is to make coming to the dentist feel like you’re visiting a friend, while having a little dentistry done on the side! From routine check-ups to sealant application, we love our jobs and hope that our patients feel cared for when they’re here. We look forward to making your visit to the dentist as easy, painless, convenient–and of course as fun–as it can be. If you have any questions, or to schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900 

Images courtesy of Children’s Dental Funzone


All About Sealants

At any dentist’s office, you hear all about a number of different procedures done on teeth. Some of the more common ones include fillings and sealants. You probably first heard the word “sealant” in the dentist’s chair when you were a kid, but probably didn’t fully understand what it meant. Here is a quick review of everything you need to know about them!

Sealants can offer an additional level of protection for your teeth. A great “safety net” for those hard to reach areas when brushing, sealants provide peace of mind for any patient. While there is no suitable alternative to brushing and flossing, sealants are great for anyone who might be inconsistent with their brushing, especially children and teens.

What is a sealant? Think of it as a raincoat for your teeth! It’s a thin, plastic coating placed on the chewing surfaces of teeth—usually molars—to prevent tooth decay. The coating quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the tooth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Sealants have been shown to reduce decay by up to 80%! And studies have shown that children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than those with sealants.

Here’s what to expect if you or a family member has an appointment to get a sealant:

  1. The tooth getting the sealant will be cleaned and dried.
  2. An acidic gel is then placed on the tooth to “roughen up” the surface, creating a strong bond between tooth and sealant. After just a few seconds, the gel is rinsed off and the tooth is dried again.
  3. Then, the sealant is applied to the grooves of the tooth.
  4. In the final step, a special curing light is used to harden the sealant.

And that’s it! This can be done on multiple teeth during one appointment and the entire process can take anywhere between 5 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth being sealed. Once teeth are sealed, the sealant can last up to 10 years. They are checked during regular visits and your dentist will let you know if it is time for a reapplication.

Even if cavities are present, sealants can still offer numerous benefits. Most sealants are clear, so if you do get one placed on a tooth with a cavity, your dentist can continue to keep an eye on it to make sure the cavity isn’t getting larger and the sealant is doing its job.

Who should be getting sealants? They are really for everyone! However, the earlier you get them, the better. It is generally recommended that molars are sealed as soon as they appear to keep them cavity-free. This would mean sealing the first molars around age 6 and the second around age 12. Sealants have been around since the 1960s, but if you didn’t get them as a child, it isn’t too late! There’s still time to protect your teeth. Just talk with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about them during your next visit.