Does your child need fissure sealants?
Fissure sealants are very common in both children’s and general dentistry.
They are often recommended by a paediatric dentist if a child has a high risk of developing decay in the fissures of their teeth. As such they act as a form of early preventative care and can reduce the likelihood of oral disease significantly.
Here are some of the most common questions we get about fissure sealants:
WHAT IS A FISSURE?
Our teeth have naturally-occurring grooves on the biting surface of the tooth. These grooves are what we call ‘fissures’.
One of the most common places people get tooth decay is in fissures that are particularly deep and narrow. The issue is, while regular brushing and flossing do a great job at cleaning the smooth surfaces of our teeth, they can’t quite reach these grooves as effectively.
Over time, that allows for plaque and bacteria to build up inside those fissures and start causing some serious decay problems.
HOW DO FISSURE SEALANTS WORK?
A fissure sealant is a hard, protective covering that seals off the groove and protects the tooth. Not only does this make it easier to clean, but it helps to prevent unwanted dental cavities from forming.
They’re applied by putting the sealant in liquid form into the groove and then using a special UV light to harden it. The seal used is similar to a tooth-coloured filling, however it doesn’t require any removal of the tooth surface.
As a whole the process is very safe, quick and painless.
WHICH TEETH OFTEN REQUIRE SEALING?
Fissure sealants can be placed on any tooth that has a deep pit or groove. However they are most commonly placed on the permanent molars that come through around the age of six. Sometimes they may even be placed on the lateral incisors.
The best time to insert fissure sealants is soon after the permanent tooth has appeared, since this is when they are most at risk for decay.
Not all children need fissure sealants. Your paediatric dentist will assess your child based on factors such as their age, when the tooth is likely to fall out, and history of decay or other dental problems.
HOW LONG DO FISSURE SEALANTS LAST?
The great thing about fissure sealants is that they should last for a long time if they have been placed well and are of a high quality.
Of course there is the possibility that they may wear or chip and need replacing. If that is the case it should be done as soon as possible to ensure the tooth stays protected against decay.
Regular review appointments with your paediatric dentist will help you to stay on top of this.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SEALANTS?
The best thing you can do if you think your child may need fissure sealants is to make time to chat with their dentist.
You can book an appointment by calling us on (02) 9188-0202 or doing it online here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics and to help begin the conversation with your children’s dentist. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care professional prior to incorporating this as part of your child’s diet or health regimen.