Fissure sealants – Life long insurance for molar teeth
One of the most common places to get tooth decay is in the grooves of back teeth. Dentists call these grooves ‘pits’ and ‘fissures’. Normal brushing and flossing can clean the smooth surfaces of teeth very effectively, but the microscopic fissures can still harbour plaque and bacteria.
Often these deep grooves are thinner than toothbrush bristles. So despite good brushing, these grooves cannot be cleaned and a cavity can start. Placing fissure sealants will seal these grooves, making the teeth easier to clean and preventing a cavity.
There is good evidence to support the placement of fissure sealants on newly erupted permanent teeth. Young children at high risk for caries may also benefit from sealants on primary (baby) teeth.
- Fissure sealants can prevent decay in biting surfaces of molar teeth
- Children and adults can benefit from placement of sealants
- Sealants can stop the progression of early caries
- Sealants are effective if the teeth are able to be kept dry during placement, monitored, and topped up when needed
How are sealants applied?
- The teeth are isolated with cotton wool rolls. Usually a cotton wool roll will be placed between the tongue and the tooth on one side and between the cheek and the tooth on the other. How long the sealants last depends mostly on how well the tooth can be kept dry during placement
- The tooth surface is prepared, rinsed and dried
- The sealant is flowed in a liquid form over the grooves of the tooth
- The sealant is set using a special blue light