What are Fissure Sealants?
Fissure sealing is a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A fissure sealant is a protective plastic coating which is applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth. The sealant forms a hard, protective barrier covering all the little grooves and dips in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay starts easily in these grooves, so fissure sealants keep food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves.
When should fissure sealing be done?
For children, sealants are often applied as soon as the permanent teeth start to come through – usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age. Adults can also benefit from sealants as the need arises.
Which teeth should be sealed?
Sealants are only applied to the back teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. At Magee Dental Care your dentist will tell you which teeth should be sealed after they have examined them and checked whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help.
Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves, which will need to be sealed, others with shallow ones which will not need sealing. If you are at higher risk of decay your dentist may recommend sealants.
Fissure sealing is usually quick and straightforward taking only a few minutes per tooth. It is also totally pain free, and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards.
- The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried.
- The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set – usually by shining an ultraviolet light onto it to form a hard shield.
Do I still have to clean my teeth?
Yes, it is vital that you clean your teeth even though the smooth, sealed surface is much easier to keep clean.
- Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need.
- It is quick and pain free.
- Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes your dentist needs to add or replace some sealants to be sure that no decay can start underneath them.