Fissure sealants are clear plastic resins placed on the biting surfaces of teeth to prevent decay especially on newly erupted teeth. Fissure Sealants are usually placed in permanent molar and premolar teeth. When fissure sealing a tooth, the grooves of the teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes lovely and smooth.
Essentially, they are like a strong clear nail varnish acting as a barrier in protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Fissure Sealants are usually placed in children’s teeth as soon as possible after the tooth has erupted as this is when teeth are at their highest risk of becoming decayed. Our dentists or hygienist provide this service typically to 6, 7, 8 year old’s. However in some situations they can be provided for older ages.
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. The thin covering over the pits and grooves provided by the fissure sealant keeps out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay.
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 which looks like ‘white paint’ is then applied to the surface of the tooth where it flows into all the pits and grooves. A special ‘curing’ light is shone on the sealant to make it set. The seal will usually last 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 down to the dentist so it can be repaired or replaced.