Fissure Sealants

Fissures are naturally occurring groves that are on the surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth. Fissures can be deep and narrow which makes it difficult for the bristles of your tooth brush to properly clean out the food particles. Food that is trapped in the fissures attracts bacteria, which then multiply within the fissures and this results in a sticky substance forming, which is called plaque. The acids from the plaque eat into the tooth enamel and causes decay. Not all fissures are prone to decay; mainly the most narrow and deepest fissures, which are the most difficult to clean are the ones most at risk. Fissure Sealant’s are a tooth coloured liquid which is applied on the grooves of the teeth to prevent cavities from forming. Once applied the coating is permanent, and will stay on your teeth for a number of years.

Why Fissure Seal Your Teeth?

You only have one set of molar teeth that your body provides, so good oral hygiene and fissure sealing these teeth is the most proactive action you can take in order to keep these teeth as long as possible. In children and adolescents, the chewing surface of the tooth is the most vulnerable to decay; this is why dentists recommend fissure sealants. Although fissure sealants may wear down over the years, a tooth that has not had the fissures sealed is five times more likely to develop decay than a tooth that is being protected by a fissure sealant. If the sealants have worn down they can simply be re-applied.

Fissure Sealants are Non Invasive

Fissures on the teeth are often sealed with a tooth coloured material, protecting the teeth from dental plaque and acids. Treatment of sealing the fissures on the teeth is comfortable and non invasive. The teeth are cleaned and the fissures are coated with a tooth coloured sealant. The material that is applied to the fissures is set with a blue light which allows them to set immediately. Occasionally, if a fissure is very deep or if there is early signs of decay, the fissure sealant may become invasive. This is where the fissure is opened up to allow adequate cleaning and proper penetration of the sealant.

General procedure of fissure sealing a tooth;

  • The surface of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried; as saliva and food particles can affect the bond of the fissure sealant to the tooth.
  • The surface of the tooth is then coated with an etching solution, to ensure that the sealant sticks to the tooth surface.
  • The tooth coloured liquid flowable sealant is applied.
  • The sealant is then set with the blue light, allowing time it to set completely.

Once set, your bite will be checked to ensure that it is comfortable. Slight adjustments may be needed.


When should fissure sealants be applied?

The most appropriate time to seal the fissures on the tooth is immediately after the tooth has erupted. The first set of permanent molars appears at the age of six. The permanent teeth, including the premolars, erupt between the ages of 11 and 14. It is usual to wait until a tooth is fully erupted before applying a fissure sealant.