Sealants are preventative “fillings” to protect the areas of the teeth where cavities are likely to form: the grooves of the biting surfaces. These pits and fissures (nooks and crannies) are areas that are challenging to adequately clean, even with great home care, and so they are often the areas where cavities first arise. It is not necessary to numb the tooth to place a sealant. When we place sealants, we use air abrasion to clean and open those grooves so as not to trap bacteria, and to ensure that there are no bacteria below the enamel (outer surface) of the tooth. Once the grooves are cleaned out, we fill in the spaces with a flowable resin material, which matches the shade of the tooth. Prevention is always better than treatment!