Fissure Sealants – Preventing Decay

Fissure Sealants – Preventing Decay

Introduction to Fissure Sealants

Dental decay is one of the most common dental health problems, and it can cause significant damage to teeth if left untreated. Fissure sealants are a widely accepted preventive method used by dentists to help protect teeth from cavities and decay. This article explores how effective fissure sealants prevent tooth decay while discussing the different types available.

What Are Fissure Sealants?

Fissure sealants are coatings that cover the fissures (grooves and pits) of children’s teeth to prevent tooth decay.  They are placed on the biting surface of the teeth to protect the fissures prone to decay.  These fissures are so small that food and bacteria can easily get trapped in them, but the bristles of a toothbrush are too large to clean them properly.  Fissure sealants, also called pit and fissure sealants, differ from fillings as they are preventative and are not used to treat existing decay.  They are placed on molar teeth soon after they grow into the mouth and before they have had a chance to develop and decay.  Permanent molars begin to erupt at around six years of age, and this is an excellent time to visit your dentist to ask if they are recommended for your child.

Resin-Based Sealant

Resin-based sealants are a form of dental fissure sealant that can protect teeth from decay or damage. Fissure sealants are an essential part of preventive dentistry. They act as a barrier, preventing bacteria and food particles from entering the deep grooves in the surface of teeth and causing cavities.

Resin-based sealants are made from a combination of resin-based materials, such as plastic polymers and other components. The material is applied directly to the tooth by brushing or painting it with a brush. Once fully dry, the resin-based material forms an invisible protective coating that seals out bacteria and food particles. This helps protect against tooth decay and can help reduce sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in teeth. It also helps prevent staining caused by drinking coffee, tea, and other beverages containing tannins.

Glass-Ionomer Sealant

Glass-ionomer sealant is another type of fissure sealant used in restorative dentistry. It provides excellent protection against cavities, preventing bacteria and other harmful substances from entering the enamel of teeth. Due to its composition of fluoride and glass particles, it also helps remineralize areas that have been affected by dental decay.

Glass-ionomer sealants are applied directly to the occlusal surface of teeth, forming a solid and durable bond with the tooth enamel. This bond helps protect against plaque accumulation and stops acid from eroding the tooth structure. The fluoride content also aids in protecting against bacterial acids, which can cause cavities on exposed surfaces. Additionally, it has an esthetic quality, available in various shades to match existing tooth coloration.

Compomer Sealant

Compomer sealants are a type of fissure sealant used to protect teeth from developing cavities. This new form of sealant is becoming increasingly popular among dentists and patients due to its unique combination of composite resin and glass-ionomer material. Compomer sealants offer several advantages over traditional fissure sealants, including improved adhesion, better wear resistance, and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

Compomers can be applied quickly, making them an ideal choice for busy dentists who must finish dental treatments promptly. The application involves painting the compomer onto the tooth’s surface before allowing it to be set in place with a light curing device or ultraviolet light activation system. Once cured, compomers provide long-lasting protection against decay on molars and premolar surfaces that are difficult to reach with regular brushing habits.

Pit and Fissure Liners

Pit and fissure liners are a type of dental treatment used to enhance teeth protection from cavities and other forms of tooth decay. Fissure sealants are often used with pit and fissure liners to create even more effective protection against tooth decay. Pit and fissure liners are typically composed of a resin material applied directly to the tooth’s surface. Once applied, it creates an extra layer over any deep pits or grooves on the surfaces, providing an additional protective barrier against bacteria and acids that may lead to decay.

The application process for pit and fissure liners is relatively straightforward; first, the dentist will clean away buildup from the surface of your teeth with a hand scaler. Next, they will apply a special bonding agent to prepare your teeth for the liner application.

Benefits of Fissure Sealants

Fissure sealants are a beneficial preventative measure to help protect teeth from cavities. Dental sealants are applied directly to the chewing surfaces of the teeth, creating an invisible protective barrier against acid and bacteria that cause tooth decay. Fissure sealants can be a great way to prevent cavities in children, adults, and even elderly patients who may have difficulty maintaining oral hygiene due to physical or mental impairments.

One of the main benefits of fissure sealants is that they are easy, quick, and painless for the patient to receive. The process involves cleaning the tooth’s surface before applying a thin layer of liquid resin that hardens into a solid film over the enamel grooves. This method is much less invasive than having fillings done, as it does not require drilling or removing any parts of the tooth structure itself.

What’s The Procedure For Placing Fissure Sealants?

Placing fissure sealants is a simple, pain-free procedure that can be done by your dentist or hygienist and does not require any anesthetic.  The teeth will need to clean, etched, and then dried.  The liquid coating will then be painted on the teeth and set with light until it is hard.  Placing the fissure sealants will take less than 5 minutes per tooth.  Following this procedure, you can eat and drink immediately, as the sealants will be set entirely.  Fissure sealants are usually white, blend in well with the teeth, and can’t be seen when talking.

How Long Do Fissure Sealants Last?

Fissure sealants can last for 5 to 10 years and will be checked regularly by your dentist when you go in for check-up appointments.  They are sometimes replaced if they fall out or become worn down over time, but replacement is not always required.  This is because teeth are most prone to decay when they first erupt; after several years, they are strong enough to avoid decay.

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