One of the best preventive measures we can take in dentistry, along with fluoride and good homecare, is placement of dental sealants. The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child's mouth is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Run your tongue over this area in your mouth, and you will feel the reason why: these surfaces are not smooth, as other areas of your teeth are. Instead, they are filled with tiny grooves referred to as “pits and fissures,” which trap bacteria and food particles. The bristles on a toothbrush can't always reach all the way into these dark crevices, creating the perfect conditions for tooth decay.
What's more, a child's newly erupted permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth are. The hard enamel coating that protects teeth changes as it ages to become stronger. Fluoride, which is found in toothpaste and some drinking water — and in treatments provided at the dental office — can help to strengthen enamel, but it's hard to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this problem: dental sealants.
Dental sealants are invisible plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, making them resistant to decay. Placing sealants is a quick and painless procedure that children generally tolerate very well. And, a sealed tooth is far less likely to develop a cavity, require more expensive dental treatment later on, or most importantly, cause your child pain.