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by on April 26, 2012

What Are Fissure Sealants?

No one is born with perfectly smooth and flat top surfaces of teeth, which gives a perfect explanation as to why we have pits or fissures on our teeth surfaces. Basically, fissures are sites of plaque buildup as these are places that your toothbrush or dental floss fails to reach. Did you know that some fissures are so narrow that you can’t even pass a single bristle of toothbrush through them, which ultimately leads to plaque buildup? So, is there any way to prevent this damage?  Yes there is and it’s something known as fissure sealants.

What are Fissure Sealants?

Basically, these sealants are ‘plastic’ protective liquids that the dentist paints onto the biting surfaces of a person’s back teeth. This is followed by hardening of the sealants, which is done with the help of special ultraviolet light.

Fissure sealants are typically applied on the adult molar teeth soon after these teeth begin to erupt. The first molar teeth start appearing by the time a child turns six years old. The child may then be taken to the dentist for getting it sealed. On the appearance of second molar teeth, which is mostly when a child turns twelve years old, the procedure can be repeated.  If a dentist determines that the teeth are more likely to suffer with tooth decay, then other teeth may also be fissure sealed.

Why Fissure Sealants?

The use of fissure sealants isn’t new to the world of dentistry. In fact, these sealants are known for their effectiveness in terms of offering optimum tooth decay prevention.  Dental experts believe that sealants can play an important role in reducing decay by 86 percent when a child is a year old and by 57 percent when he’s somewhere around four to four and a half years old.

The best part about fissure sealants is that they are actually a painless and drill-free technique. If the teeth have already been affected by decay, special devices are used for disinfecting and removing the decay, which is followed by the process of fissure sealing the teeth. Fissure sealants are useful in preventing the development of ‘full blown’ cavities as well as for avoiding the need of more advanced dental treatment or intervention.

How Is The Procedure Carried Out?

The process starts with a dental examination in order to help the dentist determine the right strategy to meet the patient’s individual requirements.  The first step is cleaning the teeth, which is followed by the application of a mild acid solution for etching the tooth surface and for making it easier for the sealant to stick. After everything is set, the sealant is painted right over the fissures or pits on the teeth surfaces. The last step involves hardening the sealant, which is done with the help of special ultraviolet light. Not only is this procedure quick, but it’s painless as well.

It is important to note that fissure sealants typically last for a prolonged period; however, the patient should have regular dental checkups in order to make sure that the sealants haven’t worn over time and there’s no decay underneath them.

 


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