As soon as the first permanent molar erupts, the battle for tooth survival begins. The deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of molars serve as hiding places for bacteria and food, which combine to form a strong acid that can destroy tooth enamel.

Sealants can protect teeth from this destruction. A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. It creates a protective covering that resists foods, acids, and tooth decay. Because sealants help preserve teeth, they are considered a preventive procedure.

All permanent molars should have sealants applied as soon as the crown of the tooth is completely erupted into the mouth. Other teeth with deep grooves can also benefit from sealants.