The most common area to have tooth decay is in the pits and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. For children, and adults, these areas are the most likely areas for food and decay causing bacteria to hide. Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating that is applied to the grooves of the teeth to create a smoother surface thus keeping the tooth easier to clean. Sealants do not require drilling or the removal of tooth structure and thus do not require getting numb. In children, permanent molars usually begin to erupt at the age of 6 and a second set at the age of 12. At D’Amico and Mauck we try to place sealants on these teeth as soon at the entire tooth is in the mouth, before it has a chance to get a cavity. The sealant is placed by cleaning the tooth and, while keeping the area dry, painting on the material into the deepest areas of the tooth. The liquid sealant is then hardened with a light. Care is taken not to change the bite of the tooth and may at times need to be polished. The result is a smooth glossy surface that can be easily cleaned and prevent the formation of cavities. However, sealed teeth, like unsealed teeth still require good oral hygiene both at home and professionally. Continuing to brush and floss daily and maintain regular cleaning is very important. This not only allows our doctors to make sure the teeth are healthy, but also allows us to not any wear or changes to the material. Typically, sealants should last up to 10 years, allowing your child to develop better oral hygiene habits and strengthen their teeth with fluoride. Feel free to ask our dental team about sealants as a form of preventative dentistry for you and your family.