Dental sealants are a resin material usually made of BIS-GMA without filler particles. It is a flowable resin which hardens with helps of visible light. It is usually placed on permanent molars and premolars as soon as a new tooth erupts in the oral cavity. The reason for this is new teeth have lots of pits and fissure which acts as nidus for bacteria to settle on the tooth surface of freshly erupted teeth.
To prevent this phenomenon Dental sealants are placed, it is also called Pit and Fissure sealants.
It is mainly used in children and also highly beneficial in children because the dental architecture of newly erupted teeth in oral cavity is different from adult teeth, which are in place for a long time. Main difference is enamel which is not completely matured in children.
Permanent molar in children have lots of ups and downs called Pit and Fissures, because of this immature enamel with pronounced pits and fissures on occlusal surface with added up poor dexterity of child they both put together it creates a high risk for cavity in the newly erupted permanent teeth. So dental sealants when placed on these teeth in children reduces the incidence of dental decay by 80 to 90%.
Dental sealants are purely preventive option, because it is only helpful in preventing the tooth decay. Once decay sets inside usually a composite filling material which has different composition is placed on the tooth. The difference between the resin in the sealant and filling material is that resin used for filling contains more filler particles to obtain reduced wear and Tear for increased durability. If it is therapeutic option to restore part of the tooth with sealant and part with composite filling then we use the combination of composite filling material and Dental sealant. This procedure is termed as Preventive Resin Restoration shortly (PRR).
Since dental sealant does not have filler particles for better strength, they tend to wear off with time as the newly erupted teeth slowly start to mature. Complete maturation of teeth results in diminishing of pits and fissures making a rounded appearance of the teeth. So this sealant tends to wear off with time. So it is not everlasting
Average dental sealants last for 2 to 3 years.
It is not used in adults since the preventive ability of the sealant does not serve the complete purpose in a fully formed teeth of an adult, dental sealant is not very effective in adults. But it can be placed in adults with high caries risk patient to reduce the incidence of dental decay.