Sealants are a clear or white plastic that is placed in the grooves of the biting surfaces of back teeth. The deep grooves and pits of back teeth are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, a nearly invisible film of bacteria and food, collects in these grooves. Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque form acid. Without sealants, the acid can cause the enamel to break down, resulting in a cavity.
To place sealants, we usually don't even have to numb your mouth. First we thoroughly clean and dry the teeth. A conditioning solution is applied, and then the sealant material is brushed into the grooves. Some kinds of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light. Sealants occasionally have to be replaced, because they do wear out. Chewing on anything that is hard, including ice, makes them wear out even faster.
Sealants are an important part of an effective preventive dental care program.