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The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for decay. Even with regular brushing, some of these intricate structures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth can be missed.

Sealants became available commercially in the early 1970s, and the first sealant was accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972. Sealants fill the gaps and crevices on the teeth, shutting out food particles that could potentially cause cavities. Sealants are quick and easy to apply, and provide an effective barrier to cavities for many years. Sealants work very well for permanent first molars, typically coming out around the age of 6, and second molars, around the age of 12.

Sealants are applied by first cleaning the tooth surface. The procedure is followed by etching the tooth with an abrasive liquid or gel, which allows the sealant to better adhere to the tooth. Once the sealant is applied, a light treatment is used on the site to promote faster drying. Sealants usually need re-application every five to 10 years.