Sealants are a very effective preventative techniques to prevent dental decay, particularly in children. At the age of 6, children will experience the eruption of the first adult molars – commonly referred to as the “six-year molars”. These teeth are very important for developing this child’s bite and help guide the eruption of the child’s remaining adult teeth. The tops of these teeth often have natural pits, fissures, and grooves that are susceptible to food impaction and cavities. You can think of the tops of these teeth like the Grand Canyon – there are many curving nooks and crannies for food to get trapped within.
A dental sealant is a plastic material, much like a composite filling, which fills all of these “nooks and crannies” so that food will not become impacted. These are easily placed and can often be done during a child’s cleaning appointment by the dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant. No anesthetic or numbing is needed and simply applied, much like a fingernail polish.