Many teeth (especially the back ones) have deep, fine grooves (fissures), and pits on their chewing surfaces. These grooves can be very difficult to keep clean and often, the toothbrush bristles are thicker than the size of the groove, preventing a good clean. If plaque and food particles cannot be removed it results in tooth decay. Fissure sealants are a preventive treatment blocking these potential areas and allowing the teeth to be cleaned easily, thereby preventing tooth decay.
What is a fissure sealant?
Fissure sealants are thin coatings usually placed over the pits and fissures of back teeth to help form a protective layer.
Which of my teeth would require application of fissure sealants?
Fissure sealants are usually applied on the 6-year molars, 12-year molars and sometimes on other teeth if they have deep vulnerable grooves. Most of the fissure sealants are applied to the chewing areas of the molar teeth. Some young children at high risk of tooth decay may also benefit from fissure sealants on their baby teeth.
What is the process of application of fissure sealants?
Step 1- The first step to placing a fissure sealant is to remove all food and plaque from the grooves. In some cases, the grooves may need to be cleaned out first using a dental drill however this is very superficial and barely felt. There will be no need for a numbing needle.
Step 2- A gel is applied on the tooth surface, then washed away, the tooth is then dried.
Step 3- Once the tooth is isolated, fissure sealant material is applied which flows into the grooves (some of the materials will harden by itself, while others might need a blue light to harden).
Step 4- The dentist will check the bite to make sure if there is no excess material.
How long do fissure sealants last?
With proper care and normal chewing, sealants will last several years before requiring a reapplication.
“Prevention is better than cure” is truly appropriate for this line of treatment. Preventative dentistry can help save you from the pain that comes from tooth decay and cavities. Call us today to schedule an appointment for you and your child to learn more or make an appointment for fissure sealant applications.