Sealing is performed to protect molars from tooth decay (caries). It is a preventive measure aimed at protecting molars where they are most susceptible to tooth decay, namely in the grooves and pits. These areas are often difficult to clean, especially when they are deep and narrow, preventing toothbrush bristles from cleaning effectively. Sealing is usually applied shortly after the permanent molar has fully erupted, as this is when the risk of tooth decay is greatest.

Sealing at the dentist proceeds in several steps:

Cleaning and etching: The dentist or dental hygienist first thoroughly cleans the molar with a brush or instrument. Next, the grooves and pits in the enamel are roughened with an acidic liquid or gel, known as etching. This is usually done with a syringe or brush after the molar is blown dry.

Rinsing and drying: After a short soaking period, the dentist or dental hygienist rinses away the acidic liquid or gel with water, often using an air/water syringe. Saliva can reduce the adhesion of the lacquer, so the molar is kept dry with cotton swabs and a saliva vacuum.

Rubber dam: Sometimes a thin rubber patch called a rubber dam is stretched around the molar or several molars, often with the help of a ring. This helps isolate the molar from the saliva. The molar is then dried with an air syringe.

Sealing: Now the dentist or dental hygienist can apply the thin plastic varnish to the molar with an instrument or brush. The lacquer flows deeply into the grooves and pits.

Curing the lacquer: As a final step, the lacquer is hardened using a lamp that emits blue light. Sometimes an orange screen is used to protect the eyes from the blue light. Finally, the dentist or dental hygienist checks that the varnish is properly in place.

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