What are fissure sealants?
As a parent of school aged children you would have most likely heard of the term ‘fissure sealant’, but what exactly are these fissure sealants and what is involved in your child getting them.
What are fissure sealants?
If you have a look at your adult molars, or ideally your child’s first molars at the age of 6, you will notice the biting surface resembles hills and valleys. The hills of the teeth are known as the ‘cusps’ whereas the valleys are termed ‘fissures’. These fissures can often be quite deep and V-shaped, meaning they can be very difficult (sometimes impossible) to clean and this often leads to food getting trapped at the base of these fissures. This initially causes staining but as bacteria become attracted to the area we can start to see decay originating in these grooves of the tooth.
Fissure sealing these teeth means that we are making these deep V-shaped valleys less pronounced and ultimately decreasing the risk of these surfaces decaying. By flowing and curing fissure sealant into these valleys, they become more U-shaped as opposed to V-shaped which facilitates brushing and helps keep the fissures healthy. Fissure sealants can reduce the chance of decay on these surfaces by 80%.
What is involved in applying fissure sealants?
Fissure sealants are a quick and pain-free procedure. It only takes a few minutes per tooth! The process involves ensuring the teeth are clean and the fissures free of debris. Following cleaning of the fissures the sealant is flowed into these grooves, any excess removed, and then cured with the use of a curing light. It is a great simple and fun procedure to get children used to coming to the dentist. No pain, drilling or crying!
When is the best time to get fissure sealants?
Technically fissure sealants can be done at any age however the best time to do them is as soon as possible after the tooth erupts. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, we can seal the fissures when they are as pristine as possible. Secondly, often when teeth erupt they are not yet completely mineralised and therefore weaker and more susceptible to decay. Therefore we aim to seal the first molars when they first erupt around 6-7 years of age.
Are there any side-effects of fissure sealants?
Not at all. Fissure sealants are a non-invasive preventative dental treatment which can help prevent teeth requiring fillings in the future
If your child is excited about getting their adult teeth, it may be a good idea to get those shiny new teeth protected with fissure sealants. If you have any questions please feel free to drop us a comment on Facebook or Instagram.
Also, just a reminder of our ongoing promotion that all check-up and cleans for children are gap-free or bulk-billed under the Child Dental Benefit Schedule. If your child is not eligible under either of these contact us for our special promotion!