Dental sealants are an effective preventive dental procedure used to protect teeth from cavities and decay. They are essentially plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surface of the teeth to protect teeth from decay. While sealants are most often used in children—usually applied to the baby molars—adults can benefit from dental sealants, too. This is especially true if they suffer from pits or fissures as they create hard-to-brush areas in between teeth.
The application of dental sealants is quick and completely non-invasive—they can be applied in just one visit. Your dentist will start by performing an initial cleaning and evaluation. He or she will then apply the plastic coatings one tooth at a time. The sealants flow into the grooves of the tooth and either hardens on its own, or is assisted with a special light source.
Once the sealants have hardened, the teeth are completely protected from bacteria. The sealant also acts as a barrier to protect enamel from outside factors such as plaque or acids. Sealants can last for several years before reapplication is considered. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface is protected from decay—sealants have proven to be very durable.