A fissure sealant refers to a dental material that is placed in the deep grooves (known as pits and fissures) present on the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth. These areas are particularly prone to dental decay as they are difficult to clean properly. By filling in the pits and fissures of vulnerable teeth, it eliminates the depth at which food and dental plaque can accumulate and sit on the tooth surface. This enables the teeth to be cleaned and well maintained and reduces the risk of dental decay developing or progressing.
Typically, a fissure sealant is placed on newly erupted molars, which erupt at approximately 6 and 12 years of age. These teeth are especially vulnerable when they erupt, as children often find it difficult to brush their back teeth. Placing a fissure sealant is quite straightforward; there is no need for local anaesthetic. The tooth is cleaned and prepared to allow for a filling material to flow into the pits and fissures of the tooth. Your dental professional will determine whether you or your child is at risk of developing dental decay due to deep pits and fissures and will assess the need for fissure sealants accordingly.