Deep grooves on molar teeth are the sites for most cavities in children and adults. Sealants fill in these areas protecting them from decay. They are basically shallow fillings! The procedure is easily tolerated and, in most cases done without anesthetics (shots) or the drill. Sealants are most useful when placed on the grooves of the teeth as soon as they are exposed to the oral cavity (all the way through the gums). This is usually around 6 years old (6 year molars). Adults can benefit greatly from these ‘shallow fillings’ by removing very small areas of decay from the pits and fissures of the teeth and flowing a filling material into these grooves. This is much better than waiting until the cavity becomes large and a more significant hole must be drilled to place a conventional filling. This is one of the reasons why dentists are now using microscopes to perform dentistry. Detecting small cavities and repairing them is obviously better than filling a big one.
Sealants can be best described as grout lines between floor tiles. Some people have tiles that are close together - no need for grout! Others have tiles far apart (large grooves on the tops and sides of the teeth, these areas need to be filled in. Modern tooth-colored filling materials are used for this procedure.