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Fissure Sealants

Fissure sealants

What are fissure sealants?

Fissures are grooves usually found in the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They are difficult to keep clean so there is more risk of decay. Fissures can be sealed with tough plastic to protect them.

The plastic is runny at first but sets hard like paint. Sealants may be see through or tooth coloured. They are normally only used for children and only on permanent teeth not milk teeth. Your dentist will discuss whether your child needs a sealant. If they do, you will also have to agree which teeth need to be sealed. The need for sealant depends on

  • The shape of each tooth

  • How much a child’s teeth have already decayed

  • How much decay a brother or sister had had (because there can be family patterns in tooth decay)

  • A child’s general health (because general health problems can make it especially important to avoid dental problems)

 

What will my dentist do?

The dentist will

  • Clean the tooth thoroughly with a rotating brush or rubber polisher

  • Dry the tooth and keep it dry by putting cotton wool round it and using suction

  • Dab a mild tooth acid on the tooth and leave it for a while to make the tooth surface rough (this doesn’t hurt at all)

  • Wash and dry the tooth by blowing water and then air on to it

  • Change the cotton wool rolls around the tooth to keep it dry

  • Paint the plastic on to the fissures

  • Harden the plastic by pointing a bright light at it (you will see the dentist and dental nurse protecting their eyes)

  • Check the tooth is comfortable to bite on

  • Trim the sealant

 

What are the benefits?

  • Fissure sealant protects teeth from decay

  • They can last for years, or if they fall out or wear out they can usually be replaced if there is no decay underneath.