The caries process is multifactorial and, over time, can culminate in localized destruction of hard dental tissues by weak acids. Effectively penetrating and sealing pits and fissures in the surfaces of teeth can prevent caries lesions and is part of a comprehensive caries management approach. Sealants are systems that can be applied to the occlusal surfaces of teeth to penetrate anatomic surface pits and fissures and form a physical barrier on the tooth surface.
A 2016 guideline panel convened by the ADA CSA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) developed a clinical practice guideline based on a systematic review of the literature and recommends use of pit-and-fissure sealants on the occlusal surfaces of primary and permanent molars in children and adolescents:
-sealants are effective in preventing and arresting pit-and-fissure occlusal caries lesions of primary and permanent molars in children and adolescents compared to the non-use of sealants or use of fluoride varnishes; and
-sealants can minimize the progression of noncavitated occlusal caries lesions (also referred to as initial lesions) of the tooth that received the sealant