Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that protect the pits and grooves in teeth and they are mainly used on the chewing surfaces of molars. The pits and grooves create natural hiding places for the bacteria because they are impossible to clean. Consequently, dental sealants prevent the bacteria from colonizing these areas.
Sealants are painted on the teeth so there is no drilling involved. The tooth is first prepared by using a small amount of a special acid, which is then rinsed away and the tooth surface thoroughly dried. Next, the sealant materials are painted on the tooth which are cured on their own or with an ultraviolet light. If a sealant is retained, the surface protected by the sealant will remain decay free.
- Fact sheet on dental sealants, National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Georgetown University