Sealants should be used as part of total preventive dental care for children as well as adults. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings which are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth). Since tooth decay occurs in these surfaces quite often, sealants are applied to cover the chewing surfaces to prevent decay. Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. It is an easy three-step process. First the tooth is cleaned with a special toothpaste. Then a special cleansing liquid, on a tiny piece of cotton, is rubbed gently on the tooth and is washed off. Finally, the sealant is painted on the tooth. It takes about one minute for the sealant to form a protective shield. One sealant application can last for as long as five to 10 years. Sealants should be checked regularly, and reapplied if they are no longer in place.