What are fissures?

Deep pits and grooves can be found on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Such pits and grooves are termed ‘fissures’ and are usually so narrow that toothbrush bristles and streams of water are not able to clean them effectively.
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How can I protect against tooth decay?

Fissures form a favourable environment for bacteria to flourish, often resulting in tooth decay. A fissure sealant is a safe plastic coating applied to the tooth to stop food particles and bacteria from settling in these hard-to-clean grooves.

This preventive treatment is normally given to children whose permanent teeth are starting to emerge, usually between six and seven years old. The application process is quick and easy, and there is no need for anaesthetic or drilling.

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What does the treatment involve?

Sealants are applied easily and painlessly. No drilling is required. The tooth is properly cleaned, treated, dried, and the sealant applied. It then hardens to form a protective coating over the tooth.

  • The tooth is polished to remove plaque and food debris from the fissure surfaces.
  • The surface of the tooth is etched with a special solution.
  • After rinsing off this solution and drying the tooth, the sealant is applied with a brush.
  • A curing light is used so the sealant will harden and quickly bond with the surface, forming a tough coating

How effective are sealants and how long can they last?

Many studies show sealants to be very effective in preventing decay in fissures. They do, however, require regular maintenance by your dentist. This can be performed with your six-monthly check-up. Recent studies show that a properly placed sealant will last as long as a typical amalgam filling. Even if a sealant is damaged or lost, it is easily repaired and replaced. Regular maintenance will help them last.
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Looking after your protected teeth

To ensure sealants offer the best protection, it is important they are used in conjunction with a comprehensive dental care routine that includes effective brushing, flossing and a healthy diet. However, treated teeth will have smoother surfaces, so they will be much easier to keep clean.

Sealants can last for many years, but regular check-ups are necessary to ensure they continue to remain intact.

Frequently asked questions

  • Dental fissure sealants are a protective layer that is applied to the fissures in your teeth to prevent tooth decay. They are more commonly applied to your molars the chewing teeth at the back of your mouth.

  • The main benefit of having fissure sealants is to prevent cavities from forming. Although they do wear out over time, they are an inexpensive and pain-free dental treatment to prevent tooth decay.

  • Fissure sealants generally last for around 3-5 years and help prevent cavities from forming.

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