Dental sealants are used to protect the chewing surfaces of children’s teeth. They are generally applied to decay-prone surfaces of teeth – usually the back molars and pre-molars. Sealants come in a liquid form that quickly hardens to form a shield over these chewing surfaces.
The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are typically rough and uneven with small pits and grooves, making them the ideal place for cavities to start. Food and bacteria can get stuck in these uneven areas and stay there a long time because toothbrush bristles cannot always brush them away. Bacteria in the mouth change the sugar in food to acid which can start a cavity in the tooth.
Your children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in – before decay has a chance to attack the teeth. Sealants also protect worn and sensitive surfaces on adult teeth since you can still get decay.