What are fissure sealants?
A fissure sealant (also called a dental sealant) is a tooth-coloured plastic film that fills deep grooves on molars (fissures), where tooth decay is likely to form. By doing this, they create a dental environment that is easier to clean and maintain. Dental sealants are a common treatment for children, after their adult teeth have erupted.
What are fissures?
Fissures are the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your molars. They are naturally-occurring pits and grooves where decay is most likely to form. Your toothbrush’s bristles are too large to effectively clean these spaces, hence the need for sealants.
Why are fissure sealants necessary?
By sealing the deep grooves in molars, dental sealants prevent bacteria from getting caught there and creating cavities. Deep fissures are more difficult to clean thoroughly with a toothbrush, and therefore are more susceptible to cavities.
Fissure sealant application
Before applying the sealant, the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned. This is critical, as any bacteria left on the tooth will be trapped under the sealant and could cause further decay. The tooth is then dried, and the liquid sealant is placed into the fissure to fill the pits and grooves. To set the resin, an ultraviolet light is used. The procedure is painless, and can last for up to 10 years.
When is a good time to have fissure sealants?
Your dentist will likely recommend having fissure sealants applied when some of your child’s adult molars are fully erupted. This is generally when your child is 6 to 13 years old.