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A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. Scientific studies have proven that properly applied sealants are 100% effective in protecting the tooth surfaces from caries. Sealant application involves cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all traces of the cleaning agent. An etching solution or gel is applied to the enamel surface of the tooth, including pits and grooves. After 15 seconds, the solution is thoroughly rinsed away with water. After the site is dried, the sealant material is applied and is hardened by using a special curing light. Sealant treatment is painless and could take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes to apply, depending on how many teeth need to be sealed. Sealants must be applied properly for good retention. Sealants should last five years but can last as long as 10 years. Children, because they have newly erupted, permanent teeth, receive the greatest benefit from sealants.