Dental tooth decay is more prevalent on the biting surfaces of the posterior teeth. While the proper oral hygiene is essential to prevent decay at times the anatomy of the tooth is such that it is impossible to clean properly. Dental caries is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that occurs on all teeth. When food is eaten these bacteria eat the food and produce acid which destroys the tooth. While good oral hygiene does not let food remain in the mouth, at times it is impossible to clean the pits, fissures, and grooves of the teeth. These areas can be protected by the application of dental sealants.
A sealant is a clear or tooth-coloured coating of those areas that cannot be cleaned by a toothbrush. Sealants can be clear or appropriately tinted to assist identification after being applied to the pits and grooves. They are applied to the biting surface of the molars and premolars, which are most decay-prone. These coatings prevent food and bacteria from lodging in the deep groves of the posterior teeth, preventing decay.
Sealants should be applied to all teeth of children with deep grooves. Although children can benefit most, adults can also be candidates for this procedure.