First molars (6 year old molars) and second molars (12 year old molars) grow in with deep grooves in their normal anatomy. The grooves on the chewing surface of the teeth. These grooves are impossible to clean because they are too narrow and deep for a toothbrush bristle to get into. When I grew up 99% of these groovy teeth got fillings, most of them within the first two years.
These teeth are no longer doomed to this fate. We now have a filling material that will flow into these grooves. We clean the groove thoroughly, both mechanically and chemically, and fill the groove with this flowable material to prevent the otherwise inevitable decay and subsequent filling.
The technique has gone through many modifications and the material has been modified numerous times since its inception in 1972. Sealant, which is still done today, was the first technique. The term sealant is therefore commonly used in a generic way to refer to all the subsequent evolutions of the process. (Like Xerox is commonly used when referring to photocopies.) Though sealants are still a viable treatment, the material is not as durable and the technique not as fastidious as the Preventive Resin Restoration technique I use today. Consequently their longevity is reduced and subsequent replacement rate is much higher. I find over a ten year period I need to touch-up about 10% of the PRRs I have placed. The research literature indicates the "sealants" need touching up at a rate of about 10% each year. This was also my experience with sealants in the early 1970s.
After 28 years placing these restorations, I consider the PRRs to be the single best service I can provide you that will carry long term preventive benefits for your child’s teeth.