Pit and fissure sealants

Pit and fissure sealants

Dental sealants are an excellent method to prevent tooth decay.

Sealants are thin layers of white resin composite that protect the grooves of molars and premolars in order to prevent the formation of cavities.

The molars and premolars have recesses on their biting surface that are called pits and fissures. These areas are vulnerable to tooth decay because food debris stick into them and allow the bacteria to attack the tooth and form cavities. The objective of the sealant is to fill these small grooves and eliminate these “traps” by closing them tightly so that the toothbrush can effectively scrub the entire surface of the tooth.

 

Sealants have a lifespan of several years but may become damaged over time or fall off. This is why a routine annual visit to your dentist is recommended.

Understanding the surface of your molar tooth

By forming a fist with your fingers, you will have the representation of the chewing surface of a molar. In fact, the position of your fingers on the top of your fist represent the grooves and depressions of the tooth surface. A “pit” is the larger space at the bottom of a groove, it is not easily accessible with the bristles of your toothbrush.

At what age should sealants be placed?

Sealants can be applied after the eruption of the first molars (around age 6) and the second molars (around age 12).

Recommendations

Combined with healthy dental hygiene habits, sealants reduce significantly the incidence of tooth decay.

Therefore, this treatment is recommended as a preventive measure as soon as the premolars and the permanent molars come through. Sealants, although resistant, can fall off or show signs of chips or wear and should be checked by your dentist during routine exams.

The re-applying of a layer of resin may be necessary. Sealants allow keeping teeth healthy and intact as long as possible.

Pit and fissure sealants: the procedure

This treatment does not require anesthesia and causes no pain. The duration of this treatment depends on the number of teeth to be sealed and is generally quite fast. Dental sealants are found in the form of liquid resin and their application can be done by the dental hygienist.

Here are the treatment steps:

  1. To ensure that the resin adheres well to the enamel, small microscopic pores will be created by using an acidic solution applied directly to the grooves of the tooth for a minute.
  2. Once this solution is removed (rinsed and vacuumed), the tooth will be quickly dried with a small stream of air.
  3. Then, the resin will be applied.
  4. Finally, to harden the resin and enable its sealing power, the dentist will shine a blue light on the tooth.

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