Sealants are easy and painless for your dentist to apply, and it only takes a few minutes to seal each tooth. As long as the sealant remains intact, the sealed tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them if necessary.
When a tooth is developing, deep grooves form in the biting surfaces of the back teeth. These grooves are called "fissures". When two or more fissures intersect, it is called a "pit". Thorough daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing help remove food particles and bacterial plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth. But because toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the pits and fissures, food and bacteria cannot be easily removed. Tooth sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.