A sealant is a flowable substance that is placed over any deep groover or fissure, in order to help prevent decay, or cavities on a tooth.
As seen in the pictures below, DEEP GROOVES and PITS can act as reservoirs for plaque and bacteria, which increases the likelihood of getting decay.
If these GROOVES are filled with a tooth sealant, it prevents the plaque and bacteria from OCCUPYING the GROOVES.
Since no PREPARATION or DRILLING is done, no anesthetic is indicated.
TOOTH SEALANTS can be placed on any teeth, but most commonly are placed on PERMANENT MOLARS shortly after they erupt. The FIRST MOLARS erupt around age 6 and the SECOND MOLARS erupt around age 12.
As stated above, they are usually placed on CHILDREN, but can be placed on adults as the need arises.
They may last many years, but may need to be redone as well.
Many people think that after tooth sealants are placed, the teeth are immune from dental cavities forever. It is true that sealants do help prevent cavities on the biting surfaces of the teeth, but it is still very important to brush and floss because the teeth can still get dental cavities on any other surface of the tooth.
The sealants seal the pits of the tooth which are the most likely to get decay, but they can't do everything.