Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the molars and pre-molars to help prevent tooth decay. Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants keep germs and food particles out of the grooves found in these teeth.
Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dental hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.