In the United States, by 17 years old, 68% of children have experienced caries. Studies show that most of these caries (as much as 90%) occur on the biting surfaces of the molars. The biting surfaces of the molars are not flat, and they contain many deep grooves (also known as pits and fissures), where food, especially candy and junk food, may become lodged. As the food is stuck in these deep grooves, the caries bacteria will process this food and excrete acid into the pits and fissures, where it softens the tooth and causes tooth decay.
The good news is that dental sealants will protect the pit and fissures in your child’s molars and help prevent cavities. Sealants are white plastic coatings that are applied to these deep grooves to provide a physical obstruction of the pits and fissures. Instead of food being stuck in these grooves, the food will slide off the sealant.
The permanent first and second molars are the teeth at highest risk because fluoride has its least preventive effect on the pits and fissures (fluoride works on the smooth surfaces of teeth). However, any tooth exhibiting deep pits and fissures will benefit from sealant application, and sealants should not be limited to just the permanent molars. If your child‘s baby molars contain deep grooves, it is recommended that they receive sealants as well.
If you have any questions about sealants or would like to have sealants placed on your child’s teeth, please contact Lil Pearls Pediatric Dentistry at (347) 682-5688.
Blog by Lil Pearls Pediatric Dentistry, proudly serving Queens, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Corona, Kew Gardens, and NYC. Please call to schedule your appointment and establish your child’s dental home.