A dental sealant is a thin plastic resin coating painted on the crown (chewing surface) of the teeth. Sealants are most commonly applied to molars and premolars, or to any deeply-grooved areas to seal teeth and prevent tooth decay. When a tooth has deep grooves or pits, it is more difficult to clean and likely to develop decay. Once the sealant is applied, an ultraviolet light is used to cure the sealant to the tooth enamel. The procedure seals out plaque and acids by creating a smooth surface.
Sealants are most commonly recommended for children. They are typically applied to their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. A sealant protects the teeth during the years when children are most prone to cavities. Adults may also be candidates for sealants, especially if they do not yet have decay or fillings.