Fissure sealants are recommended for children as soon as their permanent molars and premolars erupt. This is approximately around the age of 6. There is a golden rule that fissure sealants should be applied “as soon as possible after the molars and premolars have erupted“.
Children’s pits and fissure (grooves) on the biting surface of their teeth tend to be deep and hard to clean. If these are not cleaned correctly, it can lead to cavities.
To prevent food trapping in these grooves and to aid in cleaning, fissure sealants are recommended. A fissure sealant is a material (usually a plastic resin) which is applied to the biting surface of teeth to fill the pits and fissure (grooves). This has been a very successful preventative measure for childhood cavities as the sealant acts as a barrier by protecting the enamel from plaque and acids.
What is the procedure?
Applying fissure sealants to the teeth is a very straightforward process. There is no need for anesthetic or injections, thus making it as pain-free as possible for children.
1. The tooth is cleaned to help make the surface ‘sticky’.
2. The sealant, or plastic resin, is placed on the surface of the molar or premolar where it then flows into the pits and grooves of the tooth.
3. A ‘curing’ light is shone on the sealant to help it set.
The best part is that they last for many years, usually about 3 to 5 years. However, some adults may still have them intact since childhood.