If you have a look at the chewing surface of your back teeth then you’ll see they are covered in lots of tiny lines and grooves which are called fissures. These fissures help you to grind up food efficiently, starting the process of digestion in the mouth. While they might have a useful function, the fissures in back teeth can often be tricky to keep clean and some children will have particularly pronounced dental fissure definition, where the grooves are so deep it is difficult for them to be cleaned by an ordinary toothbrush.
Tooth Fissure Sealants
Tooth fissure sealants or dental fissure sealants are an easy and very effective way to protect teeth. The sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of a child’s permanent teeth, preferably soon after they erupt and before they can develop any tooth decay. Teeth that have been filled or which have any signs of tooth decay cannot be treated with tooth fissure sealants.
Dental Fissure Treatment
Treatment is extremely straightforward and can be carried out in one easy visit to our dental office. It is quite noninvasive and your child will not need any local anaesthetic as the procedure is completely painless. Your child’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned before the tooth surfaces to be sealed are painted with a special etching solution. This is slightly acidic which has the effect of roughening the tooth surface, creating a much stronger bond between the tooth and the dental fissure sealant. Once the solution is washed off, the tooth is dried and the fissure sealant is simply painted onto the tooth surface. It seals all the dental fissures but is completely clear so doesn’t leave any type of tooth stain. Instead the tooth will look completely normal afterwards although if you look very closely, it might be possible to see the dental fissure sealant which may look slightly white or opaque.
Dental sealants can be used on all types of tooth fissures, provided the tooth is healthy. Sometimes we might even use tooth fissure sealants on baby teeth. This may be the case if your child’s baby teeth have particularly deep or well pronounced fissures which are likely to become decayed and infected. Dental fissure sealants are an easy way to make sure a baby tooth doesn’t develop any decay and will last until it is ready to be replaced by the child’s adult tooth.