What Are Sealants?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.  They are applied in dentists’ offices, clinics and sometimes in schools.  Application is simple and painless.  Sealants are painted on as a liquid and quickly harden to form a shield.

The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay.  Fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth, but back teeth need extra protection.  Sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and keep out germs and food.  Having sealants put on teeth before they decay will also save time and money in the long run by avoiding the need for fillings, crowns or caps.

Generally speaking, a dentist may recommend sealants on a child’s permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in, before decay becomes an issue.  Talk with your dentist about what is best for your child.

Source:  National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research