Sealants can be applied on older patients too but we strongly recommend sealants for patients aged 5 and up to protect against tooth decay and cavities on the back teeth (molars). These are the teeth that are most vulnerable to cavities and decay because they are used in the chewing process, and are the most difficult to reach and clean. Molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14. It is best to have a sealant placed when the molars first come in to ensure they are protected early.
To place a sealant, an adhesive is first applied to the teeth. Dental sealants protect the natural grooves and fissures of your molars from the accumulation of bacteria which can produce acid and cause decay. The sealant is then placed over the adhesive as a liquid, as if it is painted right onto the tooth. The liquid then hardens and creates a barrier between your tooth and any plaque, food particles, and bacteria. Sealants can last for about 10 years and can be reapplied if necessary.
At times when a primary (baby) tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer has to be placed for a permanent tooth to erupt in a normal, predictable way.