Preventative sealants are colorless or highly white coatings of material placed on the occipital surfaces of the posterior permanent teeth. Their purpose is to protect the narrow holes and grooves that normally exist in the teeth which, because they cannot be adequately cleaned with brushing, are the areas from which tooth decay usually starts.
The first permanent molars are usually “most at risk”. They appear at the age of about six years, are the most important teeth in the mouth and show tooth decay of up to 95% if they are not protected. They can also be placed on second molars as well as on any tooth that has holes and grooves and therefore an increased risk of tooth decay.
Their placement is easy and painless and requires a visit. The dentist prepares the surface that will receive sealants and then places the material without the need to brush the tooth and without anaesthesia.
Research has shown that sealants last for several years and teeth protect effectively as long as they remain in their positions.
The cost of sealants is low (usually half of a normal filling). It should be taken into account that this cover ensures a healthy tooth for many years without requiring any other dental work.
Sometimes they might be detached from the tooth and thus they should be checked by the dentist every 6-8 months and replaced, if necessary. Sealants should be part of an integrated preventive programme and combined with regular fluoride applications to provide even greater protection against caries.