The chewing surfaces of teeth are never flat. They have infact certain depressions called Pit and Fissures which serve as potential traps for food and bacteria making the teeth susceptible for decay. Although other factors such as dietary habits, oral hygiene and amount of sugar intake do pay an important role but the pits and fissures have been suggested as " the single most important anatomic feature leading to the development of tooth decay". Therefore as a preventive measure certain pits and fissure sealants are placed.
The decay inhibiting properties of sealants are attributed to the physical obstruction of the pits and grooves. This prevents penetration of fermentable sugars and the bacteria cannot produce acid that causes tooth decay. The safety and effectiveness of pit and fissure sealants as a decay preventive measure has been confirmed by the American Dental Association .
However, good professional judgment should be used in the selection of teeth and patients. These are contraindicated in cases of already existing decay which require fillings. Finally, although sealant application is relatively simple, the meticulous technique requires patient cooperation and should be postponed for uncooperative patients until the procedure can be properly executed.