Sealants

Sealants are applied to teeth to help prevent cavities. In the past, they usually were used only in children. But adults also can get sealants. Not only are sealants very effective, they cost a lot less than filling cavities.

In children, sealants can be applied to baby molars to protect them from cavities. Eventually, these molars fall out and the new, permanent molars come in. These molars can be sealed, too. Most dentists recommend that sealants be applied to each permanent molar as soon as possible. This can be when the tooth is only partially erupted into the mouth. However, it can be done only if the tooth can be kept dry and free of saliva while the sealant is applied.

If your child has a high risk of cavities, your dentist may decide to seal the premolars, or bicuspids, as well. The premolars are the teeth directly in front of the molars.

Sealants can be used in adults who have an increased risk of developing cavities. Your dentist can suggest whether sealants are appropriate for you. Sealants can be put on teeth that show early signs of decay. But once the decay has broken through the enamel, the tooth will need a filling.