Sealants are a clear or white plastic that are placed in the grooves of the biting surfaces of back teeth.
Back teeth have deep grooves and pits that are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, which is a nearly invisible film of bacteria and food, collects in these grooves.
Look how the plaque shows up after it's stained with red dye. Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque forms acid. Without sealants, these acid attacks can cause the enamel to break down and decay. Then you have a cavity.
To place sealants, first your dentist thoroughly cleans and dries the teeth. A conditioning solution is applied, and then the sealant material is brushed into the grooves of the teeth.
Some types of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light.
Sealants are an important part of a preventive dental care program.