As much as 80 percent of cavities in children start in the grooves, the pits and fissures of the chewing surface of their molars. One of the best preventive techniques in dentistry is the sealant, an adhesive plug that inactivates the tooth decay process in the groove. We recommend this procedure for the permanent molars, for most children.
As good as sealants have been, there are new improvements to the technique. We now use the Diagnodent®, a laser scanner, to detect hidden decay under the surface of the tooth. This allows us to be certain that we are not placing the sealant over a cavity that has already become established, and should be treated with a filling instead.
We also now sterilize all the pits and fissures with ozone before placing sealants. Ozone is a very potent disinfectant, an activated form of oxygen in which bacteria cannot survive. With a few seconds exposure to oxygen/ ozone we can be sure there are no hidden viable tooth decay germs left in the grooves.
The sealant material is a liquid form of composite, the tooth–colored material this office uses routinely for fillings. Using our cleaning, scanning and sterilizing techniques, the sealants we place have the longest possible life. They do need to be examined periodically, though, and occasionally replaced to keep up good protection for the child’s teeth.