Dental sealants are plastic coatings or barriers that protect the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. Usually, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. Applying a sealant to your teeth can prevent cavities and the need for fillings, which must be replaced every six to eight years. Children especially benefit from sealants.
Q: How do sealants protect teeth?
A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Kids and Teens
Almost 90% of cavities in permanent molars occur in the grooves; consequently, dental sealants are a great way to protect the permanent molars and the other teeth at risk of getting decay.