The top surfaces of your teeth – where the chewing takes place – are not smooth and flat. They are criss-crossed with tiny hills and valleys – called pits and fissures. These are places where plaque can build up safe from your toothbrush and dental floss. Some of the pits and fissures are so narrow that even a single bristle from your toothbrush can’t get deep enough to clean them out.
Fissure sealants are plastic coatings placed in the deep fissures or grooves of a tooth by your dentist or hygienist. This is the only way to effectively protect these vulnerable areas so that they become shallow and therefore cleansable. This creates a highly effective barrier against decay.
Sealants are commonly placed in the first adult molars which erupt at the age of 6 years but can be placed in any fissure or groove that may be at risk from tooth decay.
A tooth is most prone to decay in the first four years after it has erupted into the mouth. It matures and becomes stronger with time but obviously it makes sense to protect the tooth at the earliest opportunity.
The beauty of a fissure sealant is that it is a simple and painless procedure that requires no local anaesthetic. It is cost effective and is a rewarding introduction into the dental environment, requiring only one visit to the dental practice. They do not take long to do, it’s just a matter of cleaning the tooth with some special jelly, drying it, applying the sealant and then that sets immediately with a blue light. The only thing you need to do is keep your mouth open for a short time as it is really important to keep the tooth dry whilst we place them
Fissure Sealants are particularly important in patients that have:-
However, fissure sealants are any excellent preventive procedure on any child or adult, as they will help to prevent tooth destruction and the need for more invasive dental procedures. They can be done by a dentist or hygienist.