A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of healthy, decay-free teeth. Sealants create a physical barrier that literally “seals out” the food and bacteria that cause tooth decay. Properly applied, sealants are 100% effective at preventing tooth decay.
Eventually, 95% of people develop one or more cavities. Sealants are most often used on the back teeth, which are the teeth at most risk for decay and cavities. These teeth have deep grooves that are too narrow to be reached by toothbrush bristles. Because these grooves and fissures are difficult to clean, food and bacteria can become trapped there. Although fluoride is a great tool in the arsenal against tooth decay, it only works on the smooth surfaces of the teeth. In order to protect the grooves of the teeth, sealants are most effective.