Not all teeth need sealants, as many times they come in without defects in the enamel layer, however if a higher than typical decay risk or susceptible anatomy is evident, the doctor may recommend sealants be applied. Sealants are a great way to protect against tooth decay and cavities on your back teeth (molars). These are the teeth that are most vulnerable to cavities and decay because they often erupt with naturally deep grooves and pits, and are the most difficult to reach and clean. Molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14.
To place a sealant, the offending grooves or pits are cleaned and often opened with a fine rotary diamond coated instrument to rule out the presence of decay. Once prepared an etching gel is placed on the tooth for 10 seconds, and then rinsed away. The sealant, which has a consistency similar to nail polish is then applied to the prepared and etched and dried grooves. A bright blue LED light is used to cure the sealant which creates a barrier between your tooth and any plaque, food particles, and bacteria. Sealants last for many years and can be reapplied if necessary.