Seal out decay – the importance of fissure sealants

fissure-seals

The three main pillars for maintaining your oral health are regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist (for oral examinations and professional cleaning). These oral habits are designed to prevent gum diseases and tooth decay, the most prevalent problems we face as dental patients. Although they are still considered the most important oral care habits, the advancement of dental technology has produced new preventative treatments and techniques that help to further inhibit the prevalence of dental decay. One highly effective technique increasingly used in the modern fight against tooth decay is the dental or fissure sealant.

 

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings – usually clear or white – that are applied to the chewing surfaces of a tooth to protect against tooth decay. These chewing surfaces, also known as pits and fissures, are prone to accumulate decay-causing plaque that leads to tooth decay.

 

Applied in liquid form, the dental sealants flow into the pits and fissures of the molar teeth – where decay commonly occurs – before being hardened with a dental curing light. Fissure sealants involve a painless procedure that does not require any needles, drilling or removal of tooth structure. Due to the ease of application, they are commonly recommended for children as well as adults.

 

Dental sealants are most useful when applied to permanent teeth, especially after the eruption of the permanent molars. The ideal time to get sealants for children is when their permanent molars start coming in and before decay has any chance to develop. Depending on the child’s individual dental development, this can be as early as six years old. Second molars tend to erupt around the age of twelve, so children may be assessed for sealant application from six onwards through to early teens.

 

As mentioned, the procedure is simple and straightforward. The dentist begins by cleaning the teeth and applying a special type of gel on the chewing surfaces. The teeth are then rinsed and dried before the fissure sealant is applied. A high intensity curing light is used to harden the sealant on the teeth. It takes approximately one minute for the sealant to set. The virtually invisible sealant is now set in place and ready to provide protection against tooth decay for up to ten years. During your periodic oral examinations, the dentist will check the condition of the fissure sealants to make sure they are still intact and providing the necessary protection for your teeth.

 

For all the benefits of fissure sealants, it is important to note that they do not in any way replace your regular oral care habits mentioned at the start of this article. Indeed, your dentist will still remind you to brush and floss regularly, and continue to utilise fluoride treatments during your routine check-ups. You should think of dental sealants as an extra layer of protection to fight against tooth decay.

 

If you are interested to find out more about fissure sealants for kids or adults, do not hesitate to contact Fresh Dentistry (located in Blackburn) at +61 (03) 9878 8712 or send us an enquiry at [email protected]