Dental sealants are an easy, affordable and painless way to help prevent cavities. They are thin protective coatings that are generally placed on the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth that are susceptible to getting cavities.
The dental sealant itself is made of a material similar to a composite filling (white filling). This material flows into the pits and grooves of teeth that the bristles of a tooth brush can’t reach to keep clean, and once it is set, it acts to prevent these surfaces from getting a cavity by creating a smooth surface that is readily cleanable.
The dental sealant procedure involves two phases:
- Dental sealants are typically first placed when the permanent first molars erupt into place, which generally occurs around six years old.
- Additional dental sealants are then placed as needed when the remaining permanent teeth erupt.
In some instances, sealants for teeth can benefit front teeth as well as baby teeth. Sealants on teeth eventually wear away and have to be reapplied.