What are fissure sealants?
So you’ve taken your child to the dentist and the dentist has recommended sealants. What are sealants and why do they need them?
All teeth come in varying shapes and sizes. At times, the adult tooth can form with a lot of grooves and ditches. When a new adult tooth erupts, the tooth is at a higher risk of decay.
This is because:
- The child is young and so they are not as good at their cleaning
- This is why an adult should help them brush their teeth until they are 8!
- The tooth has so far been buried under their gum and protected from the harsh environment of the mouth
- It takes time for a tooth to erupt so it will have a flap of gum over it until it erupts fully.
- This flap of gum can get food and plaque trapped around it.
- Unfortunately a lot of kids tend to have a very high sugar diet.
Due to these varying factors, fissure sealants can be a good way to seal the top of the tooth and reduce the amount of plaque accumulating on it. This makes the tooth easier to clean.
- The dentist will clean the tooth first, sometimes they will have remove a bit of a stained area first
- They will apply some material to prepare the tooth for the sealant
- They may place some special dental bonding material (this step is not always required)
- They place the sealant material on the tooth and set it
For a sealant to be effective, the area needs to be very dry so it will depend on how your child does in the chair as well.
Fissure sealants are not designed to be a permanent. It usually comes off a few years after, when the child is older and more able to clean the tooth well. They can come off sooner depending on their diet. We recommend not to eat chewy or sticky lollies (e.g. Minties, Fantales) because these can pull off the sealants.
So if you’ve got any questions or unsure if you child needs sealants- give us a call or make an appointment!