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Good dental care practices, such as brushing or flossing daily, are the best ways to prevent cavities. However, sometimes it’s not always very easy to clean every small nook and cranny of your teeth, especially the teeth in the very back of your mouth you use to chew, known as your molars.
Molars have the tendency to develop cavities more often than the teeth found towards the front of your mouth. This is because molars are harder to reach for brushing, and also have rough, uneven surfaces that make it more difficult to clean their small cracks and grooves.
Dental sealants are a protective coating that can be used as a safety net to protect these back teeth from developing cavities. Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden within the deep grooves on a tooth’s surface. Once a tooth is sealed, the small grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque.
Dental sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of tooth decay after permanent teeth have grown in. However, adults can also receive sealants on current healthy teeth. Sealants usually last from 3 to 5 years, although it is common for some adults to have the same intact sealants from childhood.