Dental sealants are a plastic coating that is applied to the pits and grooves of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Most decay begins in these pits, fissures and grooves. Dental sealants help protect teeth by reducing the chance for bacteria and food particles to enter these pit and fissure areas.
Any tooth that has an unprotected pit, fissure, or groove in it and does not have decay is a candidate for a sealant. The typical teeth to place sealants on are the premolars and molars of both the lower and upper teeth. The ideal time for sealants in children is right after the tooth has erupted into their mouth and isolation of the tooth from moisture is possible. Moisture contamination affects the bonding of the sealant to the tooth. As long as there is no decay in the pit and fissures of a tooth, you can have the added protections with a sealant. Age is no factor.
The dental sealant is white in color and can only be seen if looking for it. At each check-up visit the sealants should be checked for their integrity. It is common after a period of time for sealants to wear out or begin to break down. At this time, new sealants should be placed to continue their beneficial role in helping to reduce tooth decay.