Sealants are a thin plastic or resin coating that is applied to the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth. The sealants keep food particles and bacteria from collecting in the grooves. Typically they are placed on adult molars soon after they erupt, around ages 6 – 12.
The process is easy and painless. First the tooth is cleaned thoroughly. A special gel is applied to the tooth for a few seconds, then rinsed and dried. Next the sealant material is applied to the tooth, and a light is shined on the tooth to harden the material. The sealants are usually clear or tooth colored. There is no discomfort, drilling, or anesthetic involved with sealants.
The average sealant lasts 5 – 10 years and can be reapplied when it starts to break down. They should be a part of every child’s preventative dental health program.