A fissure sealant is a resin which is placed in the grooves and fissures on the biting surfaces of molar and premolar teeth in order to form a protective barrier in areas where the end bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach.
Plaque and bacteria which accumulate in the grooves and fissures may eventually lead to tooth decay and thus fissure sealants are probably the most effective direct method of preventing tooth decay.
Sealants should be placed as soon as possible after the eruption of the permanent teeth at about six years of age.
It is essential to keep the tooth surface dry during placement of the sealant. The grooves of the tooth are prepared by the dentist or oral hygienist with a mild acid and then air dried.
The sealant is a resin in a flowable form which is carefully placed on the surface of the tooth and allowed to flow into the fissures. A curing light is then used to set ( harden ) the resin and the sealant is thus bonded onto the tooth and into the fissures.
Sealants can last for many years but may need to be periodically reapplied. Sealants afford protection to the fissures until the child is less prone to decay i.e.in late teens or early twenties.
The sealed surfaces are also smoother and more even making it easier to brush properly.
Dental sealants are an easy, quick, effective and painless way to help prevent tooth decay.