What are fissure sealants, and why does my child need them?
Dental fissure sealants are a protective layer applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth (i.e. the back molars) to reduce the risk of tooth decay. It is applied to the naturally deep grooves (otherwise known as fissures) and pits of the back of the molars, where food, bacteria and plaque tend to build up and cause decay.
Fissure sealants are quick, simple and painless to be done in one appointment with your dentist. They are often recommended for first molar teeth, which appear around six years of age. The back teeth that appear around 13 or 14 years of age should also be checked to see if sealants are required.
We might also recommend a fissure sealant if tooth decay is present. The sealant will prevent tooth decay and unnecessary, painful infections in the tooth or gum.
What are fissure sealants made from?
Fissure sealants are a very thin plastic coating that is applied to seal the naturally deep grooves and pits in your back teeth.
We often recommend sealants for young children as soon as their adult teeth erupt — this is an effective way to prevent tooth decay and cavities and will likely save them from the need for fillings and more complex dental procedures later in life.
The dental fissure sealant procedure in Lake Haven
Fissure sealants are strictly a preventative treatment and can only be applied to healthy teeth showing no signs of decay. The procedure is quick and easy and can be completed during a single visit to our Lake Haven practice.
After cleaning the tooth, your dentist will apply a gentle etching solution to the tooth to help ensure a strong bond. The fissure sealant is then painted onto the tooth and left to harden naturally with a special light.
Fissure sealants last for several years, are virtually invisible and have no impact on biting or chewing.
FAQs about dental fissure sealants
+ Are fissure sealants only for kids?
No, fissure sealants are for all ages, although they are more common for children. If you are an adult that’s at risk of developing cavities, we may apply fissure sealants to protect your teeth from future decay.
+ How long do tooth sealants last?
Sealants can last six to 10 years without needing to be replaced. During your child’s biannual checkup, we will inspect the sealants to ensure they remain intact. Fissure sealants can be worn down over time, so if any damage is identified, we’ll repair or replace the seal.
+ Are all teeth sealed with fissure sealant?
Fissure sealants are applied to any teeth with deep pits or fissures. Generally speaking, they should be applied to six-year-old molars, 12-year-old molars, and sometimes lateral incisors with deep grooves on the inside of the tooth. For more information about fissure sealants in Lake Haven, get in touch with our team!
+ Are there alternatives to fissure sealants?
Fluoride varnish is an alternative. This treatment can help slow or prevent decay, much like fissure sealants. Fluoride is a liquid sealant that strengthens the enamel (the tooth surface). However, this is not a permanent solution like fissure sealants — while fluoride is absorbed into the tooth within four to six hours, it is usually washed away while brushing.
If you opt for fluoride varnish, it will need the protective coating to be reapplied three to four times a year, which is why we recommend fissure sealants instead.
+ How do I care for my child’s teeth after fissure sealants?
After getting fissure sealants, your child should follow their dental routine: brushing twice daily and flossing. You should also ensure your child eats healthy fruits and vegetables and avoid chewing hard candy and ice to prevent cracks in the sealant.
+ Are fissure sealants expensive?
Fissure sealants vary in price depending on how many teeth need sealing. Our team can provide a quote during the appointment.
+ Are fissure sealants covered by Medicare or my private health insurance?
Fissure sealants are covered by Medicare if your child has access to the Child Dental Benefits Scheme. Medicare offers $1,052 in dental services every two years for eligible children.
If your private health insurance covers dental services (and you don’t have access to the Child Dental Benefits Scheme), you should be able to claim fissure sealants under your insurance. However, we always recommend checking with your insurer.