Fissure Sealants

What are fissure sealants?

Fissures are grooves usually found on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They are difficult to keep clean so there is more risk of decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the chewing 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.

Which teeth are sealed?

Fissure sealants are applied to the back teeth but occasionally teeth at the front of the mouth have small grooves or pits that will benefit from being sealed.

What will my dentist do?

The dentist will:

  • clean the tooth thoroughly
  • dry the tooth and keep it dry by putting cotton wool round it and using suction
  • dab a mild acid on the tooth and leave it for a short time to make the tooth surface ready to bond to (this will not hurt at all). This mild acid is used for all patients when doing white fillings
  • wash and dry the tooth by blowing water and then air onto it
  • change the cotton wool rolls around the tooth to keep it dry
  • paint the plastic sealant onto the tooth
  • harden the plastic sealant by pointing a bright blue light at it
  • check that the tooth is comfortable to bite on
  • fissure sealants are clear or white
  • following the procedure the patient is able to eat straight away

veneers maynooth

veneers maynooth


More FAQs

When should sealants be placed?

Dental decay easily starts in the grooves of the teeth if they are not sealed. Sealants should be applied as soon as the back teeth start to come through and the child is compliant enough to have the treatment done (this varies from child to child).

The first permanent teeth usually start to come through at between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.

What are the benefits?

Fissure sealants protect teeth from decay.

How long do sealants last?

They can last for years. They can wear over time or fall out. Your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can be replaced if there is no decay underneath.

Do I still have to clean my teeth?

Yes of course. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean but nothing can completely protect your teeth from too much sugar in the diet. Sealants are only part of your child’s preventative dental care.

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