Fissure sealants are a great way to protect against tooth decay and cavities on your back teeth (molars). These are the teeth that are most vulnerable to cavities and decay because they are used in the chewing process, and are the most difficult to reach and clean. Molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14. It is best to have a sealant placed when the molars first come in to ensure they are protected early.
To place a sealant an adhesive is first applied to the teeth. The sealant is then placed over the adhesive as a liquid, as if it is painted right onto the tooth. The liquid then hardens and creates a barrier between your tooth and any plaque, food particles, and bacteria. Sealants last for about 10 years and can be reapplied if necessary.
With deep grooves and pits in the teeth, it is sometimes hard to remove the food and plaque from the teeth which can lead to tooth decay. Sealants help prevent the decay by sealing of the fissures and makes it easier to keep your teeth clean with regular brushing. Children’s first permanent molar come through at the age of 6, at this age it is hard for the children to effectively clean the teeth. Sealing these fissures can reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Fissure sealant procedure is quick and painless and usually takes few minutes per tooth. There is no need for anaesthetic and usually requires no drilling.
clean and dry the tooth and surrounding teeth
prepare the tooth surface so that the sealant bonds well
flow in liquid sealant, which will flow into the deep grooves and pits
harden the sealant with a strong light
check your bite and polish off any excess sealant
When applied to the tooth, the sealants occupy the pits and grooves that can harbour food and plaque. This, in turn, helps to keep food debris from getting stuck and attracting bad bacteria. In addition, the fewer “dents” on the teeth give harmful bacteria fewer hiding places.
Many studies have shown that teeth with fissure sealants are less prone to dental decay. The actual numbers and rates vary. However, one study found that molars with sealants had up to 78% fewer caries than unsealed teeth.
Fissure sealants also make the teeth easier to brush and clean. That’s because they help to reduce the “deepness” of these indentations. As a result, they increase the cleaning reach of toothbrush bristles.
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