Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it is not always possible to clean every nook and corner of your teeth especially your back teeth. So, there is another safety net to help keep those back teeth (molars) clean. It is called ‘pit and fissure sealants ‘.

Pit and fissure sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from tooth decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

The application of the sealant is quick and easy and painless. No drilling is required. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, then prepared with a special solution and dried .The liquid sealant is then applied to those teeth having deep anatomical grooves. Then the sealant is allowed to set hard usually by shinning a bright light onto it.
Some sealants contain fluoride that can help to prevent caries through release of fluoride over a prolonged period of time.

Sealants are applied as soon as the first permanent molar comes through. i.e.at 6-7 years of age. The rest of the back teeth are usually sealed at any time between 11 and 14 years. The earlier the better.
Sealants usually last for many years, but you need to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. A properly placed sealant will last for about as long as a typical amalgam filling .Sealants are safe for children and adults and studies have shown that they reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molar teeth .

-Dr. Siena G. Pacheco (BDS)