David M. LeMay, DDS     General Dentistry     (828) 586-2870




The most common dental decay seen in the mouth occurs in the pits and grooves of posterior permanent teeth. These teeth first appear in the mouth around age 6. There are four first permanent molars that erupt during this time. Plaque collects in the deep groove anatomy in these teeth where normal toothbrushing efforts cannot reach. The plaque that hides in these grooves can easily develop into tooth decay, sometimes within 6 months of the eruption of the tooth into the oral cavity. This decay can occur even in kids that have excellent brushing habits because the plaque forms in grooves where brushing cannot reach.

So how do you prevent this decay from occurring? Sealants  - small amounts of a special  groove sealing material placed by the dentist, specially trained assistants, or hygienists can help prevent this most common kind of tooth decay. This procedure is simple and fast. No shots. No drilling. The grooves are cleaned, the sealant is flowed into the clean grooves and bonded with a light. The bite is checked and the sealants are adjusted to fit and that is it! Sealants are checked at cleaning visits and can easily be repaired. Studies show most sealants still in place after 10 years. About 4 sealants can be accomplished for about the same cost as one filling.

By placing sealants on the first molars around age 6, and the second molars and premolars that erupt around age 12 you can prevent almost all of the decay that would have occurred in your child’s mouth. Ask your dentist about sealants.

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