Our back teeth (known as the molars and pre-molars) naturally develop with deep grooves and pits on their chewing surface. Although for the vast majority of people these surfaces continue to develop as they grow until they are much more regularly shaped, during childhood these areas are very difficult to reach and keep properly clean with a toothbrush. Food - and therefore plaque - can become trapped here very easily, making the surfaces of the back teeth breeding grounds for bacteria and resulting in tooth decay.
Tooth decay and cavities which damage and break down the teeth’s enamel surface are extremely common in these areas of the back teeth in both children and adults, because of the increased risk during this stage of growth. The prevalence of this problem led to the development of the routine, protective dental Fissure Sealant process.
Fissure Sealant is a plastic resin material that your dentist bonds into the pits and grooves of your tooth’s chewing surface. By filling in these irregularities, your tooth surface will be made much smoother and more regular and with that, far easier to keep clean; protecting your enamel from bacteria and decay, which can no longer reach the natural surface of the tooth.Book online
Fissure Sealants should first be applied to your child’s first permanent molars as soon as they erupt (typically at about 6 years old). This is a highly effective preventive treatment that can help to avoid the stress and pain which can come down the line, if decay is given the opportunity to set in.
It is also advised to Fissure Seal your child’s second permanent molars when they erupt at about 12 to 14 years. In rarer cases, children who are found during their first early years dental check-ups to be at higher risk of developing dental decay, will sometimes be recommended to have their back baby teeth Fissure Sealed also. Although the teeth themselves are not permanent, it is not wise to allow plaque and bacteria to build-up over such a long period of time, as this can have consequences for the surrounding gum health.
It is also very common for adult patients to either have their Fissure Sealants repaired during a dental check-up, or to have these placed for the first time. Even in older age Fissure Sealants are a highly effective method of reducing and offsetting persistent dental decay.
Your dentist will carry out a check of your Fissure Sealants at your check-up visit to ensure they are still present and intact. A partially intact Sealant will not provide sufficient protection, as this means it is no longer preventing plaque from reaching the organic surface of your tooth, and so your dentist may recommend replacement to renew the seal.
The Fissure Sealant procedure is relatively straightforward, with absolutely no needles or drilling required. Your dentist will first clean the entire surface of the tooth with high-pressure air and water, including a clean down into any grooves, pits, or fissures in the surface – this improves the bond between the tooth and the sealant material, and also ensures that no bacteria or plaque are left behind under the new seal.
The sealant resin is then carefully applied to the molar or premolar tooth, filling in the at-risk pits and grooves. A blue light is then used to harden and set the sealant. Finally, your dentist will check the patient’s bite and ensure that everything feels comfortable and normal, before you leave the clinic. Although the comfort and cooperation of younger patients is an important factor, as we are committed to ensuring that all of our early years appointments are stress and worry free, on average it takes approximately 20 minutes to Fissure Seal two teeth.
In most cases you can expect new Fissure Sealants to last for 3 to 5 years. However, it is not uncommon for some adults to still have theirs in place from childhood. As Fissure Sealants are only effective when they are fully intact, your dentist or hygienist during your routine check-up visit may recommend replacement if yours have become broken or damaged. If you notice a Fissure Sealant breaking you should attend to have it repaired.
No, there are no hard age limits at play with treatment with Fissure Sealants. While most children will be advised to have Fissure Sealants placed when their first permanent molars erupt (at around 6 years of age), children at higher risk of decay may be advised to have Fissure Sealants placed before this, on their baby teeth.
Fissure Sealants are also still effective at preventing tooth decay caused by plaque and bacterial build-up in vulnerable teeth, in adults of any age, and so they can still be recommended at a later date. Your dentist can discuss preventative treatment with Fissure Sealants during your routine Dental Check-Up appointment.
Not at all, no drilling or needles are required for this treatment. All that is required is that you have the tooth surface cleaned (using an electric brush, air and water) to prepare it for the Sealant.
In most cases your Fissure Sealants will last between 3 and 5 years, if properly cared for and good oral hygiene is maintained. Sometimes Fissure Sealants can last well into adulthood still fully intact.
This procedure is very straightforward. It should take no more than a 30-minute appointment to have two back teeth Fissure Sealed.
Yes. Fissure Sealants are a widely used and proven treatment that have been used for decades to effectively prevent tooth decay in children – they pose no risk of harm.
Fissure Sealants are a hugely effective, non-intrusive, and straightforward preventative treatment to reduce tooth decay. Sealants regularise and smooth the tooth surface of difficult to reach and deeply grooved teeth, making the tooth much easier to keep clean and maintain consistent, effective oral hygiene.
In saying that, it is still possible to get plaque build-up and therefore tooth decay on Fissure Sealant treated teeth if you do not take advantage of this more easily cleaned surface, and poor oral hygiene habits are kept. Eating a diet that is exceptionally high in sugar, especially if paired with inadequate brushing and flossing habits, will also affect the ability of your Fissure Sealants to protect your teeth from bacteria build-up.
A Fissure Sealant is used to protect your tooth surface from decay, with dental resin material acting as a barrier which prevents plaque and bacteria settling into difficult to reach or cleans grooves and depressions in your teeth, particularly back teeth.
Fillings on the other hand are used to repair a tooth which has already been damaged by either tooth decay or trauma. Your dentist in this case will need to drill through the enamel surface of your tooth to remove all of the natural structure that has been damaged by decay, and then fill in the resulting cavity with dental resin material.
At Dame Street Dental Fissure Sealants cost €40 per tooth.
We believe in complete transparency when it comes to the cost of your treatment and a full breakdown of all costs will be provided to you during your initial consultation as part of your dentist’s treatment plan. Our team will be more than happy to discuss any questions you may have at any time, to make sure that you leave our clinic smiling.
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