A dental sealant is a plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Grooves in these teeth are so narrow that a toothbrush cannot fit into the spaces to remove plaque. Plaques are accumulated bacteria in a form of soft, sticky film.
Why are they important?
Sealants can provide 100% protection from dental decay or “cavities” on the chewing surface. Research has shown that when placed over very minimal dental decay, the decay will no longer progress.
Who should get sealants?
Children should receive sealants on permanent molars as soon as they erupt (about ages 6 and 12 years). If a tooth already has a filling, then it does not get a dental sealant.
How long do they last?
While they may last up to 10 years, 2 to 4 years is a more reasonable estimate. Sealants can be highly effective in protection against cavities. These sealants should be checked by a dentist during regular check ups and if needed, they can be re-applied.