What are fissure sealants?

The name may sound a little daunting, but fissure sealants are a common dental procedure that serves the purpose of protecting molars. Most often used for children and teens, they help those big teeth that erupt in little people go the distance a bit longer.

Here’s the lowdown on fissure seals, and how and when they’re used.

What is a fissure sealant?

A fissure sealant is a tooth-coloured plastic sealant that is professionally applied to deep grooves and pits often found in molars.

It’s a common and painless preventative procedure designed to protect molars that may be more prone to decay.

Why we use them

Molars by their nature are irregular in shape, with lots of inconsistencies like pits and deep grooves. Known as fissures, these grooves can make molars harder to clean, leaving them prone to accumulating food residue that can lead to decay.

Even people with the best oral hygiene practices may find these areas hard to access, but for children they can be particularly challenging to keep clean.

As the first molars generally erupt in children around the age of six, molars have a lengthy life ahead of them. The idea of fissure sealants (also known as dental sealants) is to help these teeth stand the test of time.

When they’re applied

Fissure sealants are most commonly applied in teens after all adult molars have erupted. This is usually about the age of 13. However, if your child has particularly deep fissures, a dentist may recommend sealing teeth earlier, while adults can also benefit from this procedure.

How they’re applied

Applying fissure sealant is a common, painless procedure that can be undertaken within minutes by your dentist.

First the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried, before a liquid plastic sealant is brushed over the surface of the tooth. This coating runs into the pits and fissures, forming a protective barrier over the top of the tooth enamel.

The sealant is then set using an ultra violet light, which takes about 30 seconds. The result is a tooth that is easier to clean and better protected against potential decay.

Sealants can wear off over time, so your dentist will need to check them at each visit. Their usual lifespan is between five and 10 years.

Dental hygiene still a priority

Your molars might be better protected, but that’s no excuse to let good dental hygiene practices slide. In children establishing a vigilant teeth cleaning and flossing routine is particularly important as it sets them up for dental health that will last them throughout their life.

You can learn more about our top tips for dental hygiene here.

About Brite Dental

Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.

Offering a full range of dental services, ranging from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.

You can learn more about our dental services here, or contact us to book your next appointment.