Fissure sealants are a quick and painless way to prevent decay in children’s teeth and reduce the amount of dental work needed in later life. Who wouldn’t want that for their child?
It’s simple; resin is bonded into the fissures on the biting surfaces of the back teeth, forming a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay. It’s generally done at age 6-7 and again at age 11-12 when the first and second adult molars come through.
Sealants are only applied to the back teeth — the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits (small hollows) and fissures (grooves) on their biting surfaces.
We will examine all the back teeth to check whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Some teeth naturally have deep grooves which will need to be sealed and others have shallow ones which won’t need sealing.
The process is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried, and the liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard by shining a bright light onto it. The teeth do not feel any different afterwards.
We see many adults today with fillings on their back teeth that could have been prevented if fissure sealants were around when they were children, so we’re sure that providing fissure sealants to all our young patients is an effective way of protecting their dental health a long way into the future.
Having fissure sealants however doesn’t mean your child gets to neglect brushing their teeth. They do reduce tooth decay and the number of fillings needed in the long run, but only if brushing twice a day is kept up. The smooth, sealed surface will actually be much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal brushing.