Dental sealants are used to prevent tooth decay. Teeth naturally have hollows and grooves (known as pits and fissures). These are most common on premolars and molars. These pits and fissures are more vulnerable to tooth decay because food and debris can become stuck there and it can be more difficult to brush and floss these teeth effectively.
A dental sealant is a protective plastic coating that covers the pits and fissures on the chewing surface of susceptible teeth to create a smooth surface. This helps to prevent tooth decay because food and bacteria can no longer become lodged in the now smooth surface. The smooth surface created by the sealant provides a surface that is easier to clean and accessible to toothbrush bristles, toothpaste and saliva.
Dental sealants are mainly used in children who are at higher risk of tooth decay, and typically they are placed as soon as the adult molar teeth come through. However, sealants can be placed at any age for people at risk of dental decay.
Combined with a regular habit of brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, sealants can help prevent cavities.