Fissure Sealants

The adult back teeth are called premolars, and molars have deep grooves and fissures in the chewing surfaces, which can be quite deep. These help grind food effectively but can be difficult to clean thoroughly with a toothbrush and can trap bacteria and food. As a result, these chewing surfaces will often develop cavities.

What Are Fissure Sealants?

The sealants are made from a thin layer of plastic painted onto the tooth surfaces, where it quickly flows into all the little grooves and fissures. Once hardened, the result is a smooth, easy-to-clean surface that is completely sealed and should remain decay free.

When Should My Child Have Fissure Sealants?

When your child’s adult back teeth first emerge, we will most likely suggest using fissure sealants to help protect them. It is important to complete this treatment fairly quickly as we can only use fissure sealants on teeth that are cavity free and which do not have any fillings. If a tooth already has early signs of tooth decay, such as a soft spot or small lesion, it may still be possible to use fissure sealants to seal the tooth, preventing the decay from progressing, but it is rare for this to be the case.
Sometimes we also use fissure sealants to protect a child’s baby teeth, especially where there is a high risk of tooth decay. Protecting these teeth helps ensure they do not become infected and need removal before the adult teeth are ready to erupt. It is important that baby teeth are not lost too soon as it can cause complications with the development of their adult teeth and make it tricky for the child to eat and learn to talk clearly.

How Long Will Fissure Sealants Last?

Fissure sealants should last several years, and we can check their condition at every appointment and reapply them if necessary.

What Is the Procedure for Having Fissure Sealants?

Placing fissure sealants onto your child’s teeth is quick, painless and non-invasive. Before applying fissure sealants to your child’s teeth, we will clean their teeth thoroughly. Next, we use a special etching fluid on the surfaces to be sealed before rinsing it off and drying the teeth completely. 

The etching fluid simply helps to roughen the tooth surface very slightly, so the sealant will bond more strongly with the tooth surface. The fissure sealant is then painted onto the prepared tooth surfaces and will soon harden, completing the treatment.

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