WHAT IS FISSURE SEALING?
Fissure sealing is a simple procedure which can be carried out by dentists, hygienists or therapists, and is done in order to prevent cavities forming on occlusal (biting) surfaces of teeth.
Pits and fissures of teeth are grooves which are found on occlusal surfaces of pre-molars and molars. These fissures are areas that are particularly prone to cavities as they are difficult to keep clean and are common food stagnation areas.
As the first permanent molars erupt, on average, at six years of age these teeth in particular are likely to form cavities if left untreated and as a result fissure sealing is most often done on reasonably young children.
HOW IS IT APPLIED?
When fissure sealants are applied to teeth the occlusal surface is covered with a thin layer of phosphoric acid (acid etch) which is used to obtain good retention of the sealant material. This is left in place for up to 60 seconds and then rinsed away, allowing the tooth surface to be dried thoroughly.
The liquid fissure sealant material is then placed into the pits and fissures of the tooth surface which effectively eliminates stagnation areas. The sealant is then set using a light cure which takes between 30 seconds and a minute.
Sealants can last for a number of years and are a very effective way of preventing decay in occlusal surfaces of teeth.
Sealants can also be placed on any other unfilled tooth which has a high risk of occlusal cavities. It is even possible to place fissure sealants on occlusal surfaces that have small early cavities, this does however require a minimal amount of preparation ensuring all cavities are removed before the sealant is placed.