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Dental fissure sealants are a protective layer applied on the chewing teeth (the molars) to reduce tooth decay. Applying a sealant is quick and painless and can be done by your dental practitioner

Frequently Asked Questions

Sealant is most commonly applied to the grooves, known as fissures, and pits of the back molar. These are the most common locations of cavities in the teeth. They are a white composite resin, similar to a white tooth filling. The sealants provide a barrier against bacteria that can cause plaque. They are designed to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Your dentist might advise you to have fissure sealants if you have large grooves or pits in your teeth. However this should be discussed between your doctor whether or not they are necessary, as not all teeth with fissures need sealants.

It may be recommended for the first molar teeth, which appear at around 6 years of age. The back teeth (second and third molars) emerge at around 13 years and should be checked to see whether sealants might help. Some adults also get sealants.

Having fissure sealants applied is a quick and painless procedure. It usually takes a few minutes per tooth and is less complicated than having a cavity filling. There is no need for anaesthetic.

Your dental practitioner will:

  • clean and dry the tooth
  • prepare the tooth surface so that the sealant bonds well
  • paint on the liquid sealant, which ill flow into the deep grooves and pits
  • bond and harden the sealant with a strong light
  • check your bite and polish off any excess sealant

You should clean your teeth as usual and practice good oral hygiene. Your teeth will be easier to clean because the brush will reach all surfaces.

Sometimes the sealant falls off so it is a good idea to visit your dentist regularly so they can make sure the sealant is in good condition as part of your routine dental check-up. It can also wear down over a few years but can always be reapplied.

Sealants are a simple and effective means to reduce tooth decay. They provide extra protection from decay, even those who drink fluroridated water and brush with fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride in water and toothpaste doesn’t easily reach into deep grooves or pits. Even the bristles of a toothbrush might not reach that far.

Complications are rare but may include an allergic reaction to the sealants, or a change in your bite if the sealant layer is thick.

Fluoride varnish can be applied to the teeth by a dentist, however fluoride varnishes are mostly used in young children at high risk of developing of cavities. They need to be applied 2 to 4 times each year.