What are fissure sealants?
A fissure sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.
The technique is completely pain free and the child will not feel any pain.
Which teeth should be sealed?
Fissure sealants are only applied to the back permanent teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth which have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. After an examination we can determine whether the fissures are deep enough to indicate need for fissure sealing. (Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves, which will need to be sealed, others with shallow ones which will not need sealing).
How is it done?
The process is usually quick and simple taking only a few minutes per tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special gel (like shampoo), and dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and is set hard by shining an ultraviolet light onto it.
How does it feel?
It is totally pain free, and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards.
How long do they last?
Sealants may last for a few years; we will check them regularly to make sure that the tooth is still sealed. They can wear down over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to be sure that no decay can start underneath them.
How do they work?
The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier, over the little grooves and pits in the surface of the tooth(the grooves are the susceptible areas where decay can start). When is the best time to have fissure sealing done? Sealants are best applied as soon as the permanent molars are through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they have erupted which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age. We also carry out fissure sealing for adult patients who are at high risk of decay. How much does it cost? It varies based on the size of the tooth and the ease of access but as a guide ,fissure sealants are £40 each.
Do my children still have to brush their teeth?
Yes. It is still vital that they do so. Fissure sealing is a preventive measure which reduces risk of tooth decay but maintenance of good oral hygiene and healthy diet plays a key role too.