A sealant is a substance made of a clear, plastic like material that's placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help shield out decay-causing bacteria. Sealants are not fillings; they are an intermediate preventive step in delaying or preventing tooth decay. Sealants are applied as a liquid that hardens to fill the pits and fissures of the back teeth and seal out bacteria. It's recommended that sealants be applied to a child's primary molars, or six year molars, generally around age six. A child's cavity-prone years continue until the teenage years, so around age twelve when the second permanent molars appear they should also be sealed. Adults may also have sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of non-restored back teeth. Sealants are not applied to areas between back teeth or front teeth, or on teeth that already have fillings or detectable decay. Depending on your chewing pattern, the sealants can last for a number of years. When visiting your dentist, make sure that he or she checks to see if the sealant material is still intact. For more information about sealants, contact a dentist in your area.