Pits and fissures are the grooves that naturally occur in teeth, usually on the chewing surfaces of all molars and pre-molars. If the fissures are very deep and narrow no fine bristles on any tooth brush will fit inside to clean and remove the plaque and bacteria. This trapped plaque and bacteria produces acids which eat into the tooth enamel and cause decay.
A fissure sealant is a protective tooth coloured plastic or hard resin coating that is bonded filling the groove or fissures of teeth to stop decay from forming.
Pit & fissure sealants are suitable from around the age of six years or older. Any permanent tooth that has a deep groove and has not decayed is recommended for a sealant in adult patients.
The best time to apply fissure sealants is immediately after the permanent teeth appear. The first permanent molars appear around the age of 6 or 7. The following permanent teeth including premolars erupt between 11 and 14 years of age. Wisdom teeth usually erupt during early adulthood, if at all.
The General Procedure
- Teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- Tooth surface is coated with an etchant gel or chemical solution to remove any organic debris and to allow bonding of the sealant.
- The liquid sealant is applied into the pits and fissures
- A white light may be used to activate bonding and hardening of the sealant.
- The liquid quickly sets to form a durable plastic coating. Some sealants will release fluoride to further strengthen teeth.
- The bite will be checked to ensure that it is correct and comfortable.
- Are a fairly painless procedure. No needle is required
- Prevent decay or fillings
- Can help prevent future complex treatment
- Prevent pain
- Are extremely durabile
- Are designed for maxiumum longevity
- Give peace of mind