Why might you need a fissure sealant?
Fissure sealants are needed primarily in the newly erupted adult molars. Your child’s number 6 teeth are sealed when they erupt at approximately age 6, and your child’s number 7 teeth are sealed when they erupt at approximately age 12. When these new adult teeth erupt, they typically have deep and narrow grooves on their chewing surfaces. These grooves can be so narrow that even a toothbrush bristle can struggle to get in and clean them well. Despite you and your child’s best efforts in cleaning, these grooves catch and hold the food debris. Unfortunately, when these grooves hold food it causes the tooth to decay easily. Placing a fissure sealant is an affordable and simple way to protect your children’s teeth, both baby or adult teeth, by keeping food particles from wedging into the small narrow grooves of natural teeth and causing decay.
This procedure does not destroy or remove any tooth structure, and is suitable for use in children, adolescents, and adults. The procedure is quick, comfortable, and well tolerated by children.
Once placed, your dentist will check them at regular dental appointments to ensure they are in place and topped up if needed. A sealant can typically last for up to six years, however they can wear away sooner than this. Possible reasons for the early loss of a fissure sealant can be tooth wear, decay, or tooth loss. If you lose a fissure sealant early your dentist will identify this and the cause will need to be investigated further.
Our Frequently Asked Questions
When our permanent adult molar teeth erupt, they can have very deep natural grooves (fissures) on the biting surface. These fissures are often narrow and deep, which causes food to get caught and can be very difficult to clean, especially for a child. Decay often forms in these areas first. Preventatively sealing these fissures allows for a flatter and easier surface for you and your child to clean. Their first molar will erupt at age 6, the second at age 12, and they need to last their whole lives.