Fissure Sealants

Fissure sealants can reduce tooth decay and the need for fillings.
Why seal against decay?
The chewing surfaces of back teeth often have small cracks or fissures which extend right down into the tooth itself. However well the teeth are brushed these fissures are very difficult to clean thoroughly, food particles stick in them and eventually cause decay. Even fluoride I drinking water or toothpaste, which helps protect the smooth sides of the teeth, can't fully protect these 'high risk' areas against decay. Fissure sealants can!

What is a fissure sealant? It is a tinted or clear plastic coating which your dentist applies to the 'chewing' surfaces of the back teeth of children or adolescents.Once the tooth is prepared, the sealant is applied onto the 'chewing' surface where it completely seals the fissures, preventing any food particles or bacteria from getting in.

The Result
o The glassy smooth surface is easier to keep clean and healthy with a toothbrush and in no way affects the normal chewing function of the teeth
o Studies over many years have shown that sealants greatly reduce tooth decay and the need for fillings.

How is it done?
It involves cleaning the tooth surface then applying the coating. The most important aspect is keeping the tooth surface dry from saliva (which can be very difficult in young children with wiggly tongues!).  Rubber dam (a sheet of rubber to help isolate the tooth and protect soft tissues may be needed).  Several teeth can be sealed in one appointment. No injections or drilling are needed.

When should it be done?
It's best to get the teeth sealed as soon as each individual permanent molar and premolar have fully erupted.  Partially erupted teeth (teeth with part of the surface still under the gums) are difficult to seal properly as the gums produce small amounts of fluid that keeps the tooth surface wet and the sealant may not “stick” to the tooth.

Do the teeth need to be cleaned as often?
Yes! Just because the molar teeth have been sealed against decay doesn't mean sticky, sweet foods cannot harm the teeth. Sealants can wear down or bits break of, allowing decay to progress under the sealant.
Sealants need regular checking and repairs by the dentist.

Deep Fissures on Adult Molar Tooth Below:

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Fissure Sealant in place

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© Kidz Teeth | Specialist Paediatric Dentists - Auckland, New Zealand