Molar teeth have deep, fine grooves (also known as fissures) and pits on their chewing surfaces. These grooves can be very difficult to keep clean and often, even the toothbrush bristles are too thick to brush the base of the groove. That means, even if your oral hygiene is impeccable, some areas are just impossible to clean thoroughly! This leads to an unwanted collection of plaque and food debris. If plaque and food particles are not frequently removed, this can result in tooth decay. Fissure sealants are thin coatings placed over the pits and fissures of back teeth to help form a protective layer. It stops the food from getting in the tiny grooves in the teeth and thereby, reduces the risk of tooth decay.
Which teeth are most commonly fissure sealed?
Fissure sealants can be placed on any tooth with a pit or fissure however, they are most commonly prescribed for permanent six-year-old molars, twelve-year-old molars and sometimes even lateral incisors (as some have deep grooves on the inside). In some cases where a child may be in a high risk category for decay, fissure sealants are even placed on baby molars.
How long do fissure sealants last?
Fissure sealants are durable and can stand up to daily chewing forces for months or even years. Of course, everyone is different, and the protective coating may wear down at different rates in different people. If there was difficulty placing the fissure sealant, this may affect the longevity of the sealant. Having regular dental check ups is the best way to ensure that your sealants are in good condition.