Fissure Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your children’s teeth from decay. A 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 tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.
Sealants are only applied to the back teeth – molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. Your dentist will tell you which teeth should be sealed after they have examined them and checked whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Teeth with shallow fissures may not need sealing.
The process is quick and easy and takes a few minutes per tooth. The tooth fissure is cleaned prepared with a solution and then dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and set hard using a bright (LED) light. The sealant forms a smooth protective barrier by covering the little grooves and dips in the surface of the tooth. It is totally pain free and the teeth feel no different afterwards.
The sealants should last for many years but must be checked regularly by the dentist to make sure they are still intact. If they become worn or break they can be repaired.
Sealants should be applied as soon as the permanent teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age (when the first molars erupt).The rest as soon as they appear, which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.
It is recommended that if your child has any incidence of decay in their deciduous (baby) teeth then the adult teeth should be sealed as a precaution.