Pit & Fissure Sealant

Pit & Fissure Sealants

Overview

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from tooth decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas. Sealants can help protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food debris from the occlusal surfaces of the teeth.

Procedure

The process is quick taking only a few minutes for each tooth.

  • The surface of the tooth is polished with a pumice material to remove plaque and food debris from the pit and fissure surfaces of the teeth selected for sealant placement.
  • After isolating and drying the tooth the dental sealant material is applied to the surface of the tooth
  • A self-curing light will be used for about 30 seconds to bond the sealant to the tooth surface.
  • The dental sealant is evaluated for high points and checked for its occlusion.
  • Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.

Most of the time, the dental sealant is applied soon after the tooth has erupted, normally between six and twelve years of age. Sealants can be used for older children and even adults whose teeth have deep grooves and pits in them. Your dentist can help you decide when the right time is to undergo the treatment.

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication of the sealant is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.