Sealants should be used as part of a child’s total preventive dental care. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth). Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs in these surfaces. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces to prevent decay. Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. It is an easy three-step process: We clean the tooth with a special toothpaste. A special cleansing liquid, on a tiny piece of cotton, is rubbed gently on the tooth and is washed off. Finally, the sealant is painted on the tooth. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield. One sealant application can last for as long as 5 to 10 years. Sealants should be checked regularly and reapplied if they are no longer in place.
Children and adults at high risk of dental decay may benefit from using additional fluoride products, including dietary supplements (for children who do not have adequate levels of fluoride in their drinking water), mouth rinses, and professionally applied gels and varnishes.