The fissures on the biting surfaces of the back teeth are very narrow so can be hard to keep clean, which means bacteria and food particles can stick around and start to damage the enamel. The application of fissure sealants is a preventive treatment that involves applying a plastic coating to these difficult to reach grooves, protecting teeth from possible decay.
Fissure sealants are normally applied to permanent teeth as they start to emerge (usually between 6 and 7 years) and further applications can be made as other teeth begin to show. The process is quick and easy and usually only takes a couple of minutes per tooth.
- The tooth is cleaned, prepared with a special solution and then dried.
- The sealant (in liquid form) is then applied with a brush and hardened with a special bright light.
Sealants can last for years but will need regularly checking to ensure the protective coating is still intact, and although treated teeth are much better protected, they will still need regular brushing and flossing.