Fissure Sealants

Introduction To Fissure Sealants

A Fissure Sealant is a plastic resin that is bonded to the depressions, pits and deep grooves in your tooth’s chewing surface. Fissure Sealants are usually placed in permanent molar and premolar teeth (i.e. the back teeth). When fissure sealing a tooth, the grooves of the teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes lovely and smooth; The sealant essentially acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

When the back teeth are developing, pits and fissures form in the chewing surfaces of the enamel. They are impossible to keep clean, because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot properly reach them. Pits and fissures are snug places for plaque and bits of food to hide. Most cavities form in these areas; back teeth especially are extremely susceptible to this type of decay. By forming a thin covering over the pits and grooves, fissure sealants keep out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay.

Before Fissure Sealant is Placed
Fissure Sealants

When should a tooth be fissure sealed?

The golden rule universally agreed among all dentists and hygienists: “as soon as possible after the tooth has erupted.”
Fissure Sealants are usually placed in children’s teeth as this is when teeth are at their highest risk of becoming decayed.

What does the procedure involve?

Fissure sealing is very straight forward and completely painless. The dentist firstly cleans the tooth surface with a special agent to help make the surface ‘sticky’; the sealant ( looks like ‘white paint’) is then applied to the surface of the tooth where it flows into all the pits and grooves. Lastly, a special ‘curing’ light is shone on the sealant to make it set. That’s it! The whole process takes less than a minute to complete.

Can adults teeth be sealed?

Yes of course! It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth (in children), but every person has unique needs. Your dentist will recommend sealants on a case by case basis.

How long do they last?

Generally about 3 to 5 years. However, it is fairly common to see adults with fissure sealants still intact from their childhood.

As part of your regular check-up, the dentist will check your fissure sealants to make sure they are present and protecting your teeth. A fissure sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact so if your sealant chips or comes off, you should drop down to the dentist or hygienist so it can be repaired or replaced.

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