Pits and Fissure Sealants:
Pit and fissure sealants are like a plastic coating that is painted or brushed onto the surface of the teeth (kind of like putting on nail polish). Sealants are preventative measures taken to keep teeth healthy and strong and cavity free. They are most often done on permanent or adult molars but can also be used on primary or baby molars. Sometimes when teeth develop, they have deep grooves on the biting surface called pits and fissures.
Pits and fissures are cavity prone areas because they trap food and bacteria, which causes cavities. Even the best brushers cannot keep these areas clean because the bristles of the toothbrush are too big to fit into the grooves. We recommend sealants to be done once the adult molars have fully erupted in children’s mouths, usually around the age of six and again at the age of twelve.
To apply the sealants, the teeth must be cleaned really well, and then dried. An etch solution is applied to the teeth (the etch helps bond the sealants to the tooth). The etch is rinsed well and the teeth are dried well again. The sealant material is applied to the teeth with a syringe like applicator with a little brush on the end, and it is then “cured” or hardened with a special light. The sealant is checked for proper hardness and proper bonding to the tooth. Sometime excess material has to be removed. Sealants usually last a long time but regular check-ups will make sure that the sealant has not become dislodged, if it has, then it will need to be resealed.