Fissure sealants are a white composite resin material similar to tooth coloured fillings that are also applied to a patient’s tooth.
Unlike fillings, fissure sealants are actually used on healthy teeth to protect them from bacteria and decay. We recommend them to patients whom we believe are at an increased risk of decay due to the shape of their teeth. We find that this added protection against decay offers our patients peace of mind.
Preventing cavities for people with deep grooves in their teeth.
Some patients have very deep grooves in their teeth, particularly in their molars. These deep grooves are more susceptible to trapping food and bacteria, and, so we apply a fissure sealant to effectively block the groove in your teeth and stop the bacteria entering and causing mischief.
Fissure seals for children.
Fissure sealants are often used with children with deep grooves to prevent cavities. This gives the added level of protection for vulnerable teeth, particularly when the brushing technique may not be to the same level as an adult.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having fissure sealants?
The advantages of fissure sealants are:
- They prevent painful cavities from developing through the top of the tooth
- They are inexpensive, particularly compared to fillings, and other dental restorations.
The disadvantage of fissure seals is that they do wear out over time. Their lifetime depends largely upon how they are treated and the wear and tear on them. We have seen some last a very short time and others last as long as 15 years. If they do come out, wear down or chip then replacing them is quite straightforward.
Fissure sealants give an added level of protection for vulnerable teeth with deep grooves.
Why doesn’t everyone just fissure seal all their teeth?
Whether you would benefit from a fissure seal depends on the shape of your teeth. While sealants would prevent bacteria build up and decay, most people just don’t need to do this because they don’t have deep grooves in their teeth. For these people, a healthy diet, brushing and flossing, and regular check ups are still the best way to prevent decay.
Many patients who have deep grooves in their teeth choose to have them sealed. In these cases we outline the pros and cons, the costs associated and allow the patient to make the choice whether to have a fissure sealant treatment at the time or down the track.
What does having a fissure seal at the dentist involve?
The composite resin we use for a tooth coloured filling is a plastic consistency. For fissure seals, it’s the same material just of a more watery consistency. We clean the tooth and then flow this material into the groove. Finally we ‘zap it’ with our light to make the sealant go hard. It is usually not a lengthy or painful process.
Not sure if fissure sealants are suitable for you?
If you have any more questions about fissure sealants and if these are suitable for you, we are more than happy to discuss your situation or book a consultation for you.
Call us on (08) 8346 3940 or get in touch via our contact form.