Fissure sealants

Reasons for sealing teeth

A sealant is a coating of plastic applied to children’s back teeth (the molars and premolars) in order to protect them from decay. The sealant creates a protective layer which stops food and germs from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth, where they could cause decay.

When the dentist examines your child’s teeth, they will look for pits and fissures in the back teeth. The dentist will then advise you which teeth, if any, would benefit from an application of sealant.

The sealing process

Applying sealant to a tooth is a quick and painless process, taking just a few minutes for each tooth. First of all, the dentist will clean the tooth thoroughly. Then a special solution is applied to the tooth to prepare it. Once this is dry, the dentist will apply liquid sealant, using an ultraviolet light to harden it to the surface of the tooth. Bacteria and food will be unable to penetrate this seal, ensuring the tooth is protected from decay.

When sealants are applied

Sealants are normally applied as soon as the first adult teeth appear, usually around the age of 6 or 7. The others are sealed as they appear, which is normally between the ages of 11 and 14.

Happy little boy

Fissure sealants normally last for many years, but the dentist will check them regularly to ensure the seal is intact. They will wear down over time, and may occasionally need to be resealed or replaced in order to prevent decay occuring under the sealant.

Your children should still brush their teeth as normal, ensuring that they stay clean and healthy. The sealant should greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay and the need for fillings in your child’s teeth.

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