Dental sealants are a form of preventative treatment that is used to help prevent or slow down the development of caries. The plastic coatings are placed on the chewing surface of the teeth, which are generally the molars or premolars. These teeth are the most susceptible to caries because due to the anatomy of the tooth, food particles get stuck in the fissures of the tooth. When food accumulates in these areas, plaque forms and attacks the enamel, causing a cavity to form. The plastic coating of the dental sealant helps prevent the food from being stuck in the fissures of the tooth.
Dental sealants are first placed when the first permanent molar is erupted. The dental sealant will help protect the permanent teeth of children to help prevent the formation of cavities. These sealants can also be placed on adults that are at high risk for forming dental caries. Sealants last for many years, but new ones can be placed when the old sealants have worn down.