When a child’s first permanent molars erupt, usually at age 6, consider protecting them with dental sealants. A sealant is a thin plastic coating applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. By filling in the teeth’s grooves, sealants create a barrier against food and bacteria that cause decay. They are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing decay in back teeth.
The molars are etched with an acidic solution to help the sealant adhere. The sealant – which can be milky white or colorless – is then applied and hardened with a bonding light.