In dentistry today, we try to be preventative as much as we can when it comes to treating children. Fissure sealants are one of the ways we do this. What are fissure sealants? They are a protective coating that goes on the chewing surfaces of the adult molars. These chewing surfaces have grooves (fissures) that can be deep and narrow, making it very hard or next-to-impossible for your toothbrush bristles to reach. Without fissure sealants, these grooves can become a site where food and plaque can hide, producing acids which slowly start to form decay on your children’s teeth.
Fissure sealants are usually clear or white, and are completely safe and a painless way of reducing the risk of holes forming. The sealant flows into all the groove systems and brings everything to an even plane, making it easier to brush as well as preventing food from getting trapped in these grooves. Once placed, these can last many years, however they are placed in high stress areas (chewing surfaces) which mean they can wear over time. It is important that you keep up with your regular check-ups as our dentist or oral health therapists can check them and decide whether they need to be topped up or replaced.
Fissure sealants are best placed when the first permanent molars (often referred to as 6 year old molars) have fully erupted, as this is when they are most susceptible to decay. We usually do the same when the second permanent molars (12 year old molars) erupt and if we end up keeping our wisdom teeth, we seal them too. This is common practice these days that has been around for a long time. If you have any questions about fissure sealants feel free to ask our friendly staff!