While front teeth have smooth surfaces that are relatively easy to keep clean, the back teeth, including molars and premolars, are constructed quite differently and have large chewing surfaces with lots of intricate grooves and fissures. These are designed to help grind food more effectively so it can be digested more easily. However, the fissures can frequently trap food particles and bacteria and, because they can be quite deep, are tricky to clean thoroughly with a toothbrush. As a result, these tooth surfaces can often become decayed. Ideally, we always want to prevent tooth decay, and fissure sealants can help prevent cavities.
The sealants are a preventive dental care treatment designed to seal the chewing surface of a premolar or molar, consisting of a flowable resin that fills all the tiny grooves and fissures in the tooth before quickly hardening. The sealant creates a smooth surface that is easy to keep clean, completely sealing the tooth’s chewing surface underneath.
Ideally, it is best for your child to have fissure sealants soon after their adult premolars and molars erupt and before they can become decayed. We can only apply fissure sealants to healthy teeth with no lesions or cavities, or fillings. Sometimes we may suggest applying fissure sealants to a child’s baby or primary teeth if they have particularly deep grooves that are tricky to clean. Applying the sealants helps keep these baby teeth strong, healthy and cavity-free, helping to prevent their premature loss and so they can fall out naturally. When a child’s baby teeth are lost too soon, it can affect the development of their adult teeth.
Treatment is very straightforward, completely painless and non-invasive. After checking your child’s teeth are suitable for treatment, our dentist will paint the tooth surfaces with a special etching fluid. Lightly etching the teeth creates a better bond between the tooth and the sealant. Next, the teeth are washed and dried and painted with the fissure sealant material. It soon hardens, creating a thin, durable shield to help prevent tooth decay. The sealant is nearly invisible and will not affect your child’s bite.
The material used for fissure sealants is durable, but we can assess the condition of your child’s sealants at each checkup. Then, if needed, we can reapply or repair the fissure sealants.