What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing surface of the permanent back teeth to help protect them from decay.
Why are dental sealants placed on teeth?
The chewing surfaces of the molar teeth have grooves that make them tough to clean and vulnerable to decay. Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel causing cavities. Fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth; dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the deep grooves.
When are dental sealants placed?
The first dental sealant to be placed is usually on the groove of the first permanent molar tooth, once the chewing surface of the tooth has erupted completely beyond the gum. This tooth grows in behind the baby teeth usually around age 6. If the chewing surfaces of these teeth are sealed, the sealant will help protect the tooth.