Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. Fine grooves or pits in primary and permanent teeth accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because these pits and grooves are too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that.
The Surgeon General reported in 2000 that by 17 years of age, 78% of children will have experienced caries. 9 out of 10 cavities in school-aged children occur in pits and fissures and that's why Dr. Dixon will recommend sealants for teeth he considers at risk for this type of tooth decay.
Applying sealants is easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist or dental assistant will shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant and form a protective shield.
At your child's regular dental exam, their sealants are evaluated and maintained or replaced as needed. With appropriate follow up care, the success rate of sealants is 80-90%, even after a decade.