Fissure seals get their name because they seal the grooves (fissures) of the back teeth (molars). Fissure seals are a preventive treatment done when children get their molar teeth. First at age 6 and then back molars at age 13. By covering the teeth groove food is less likely to get stuck in the teeth and cause cavities reducing the likelihood of more extensive treatment like fillings or root canal in the future. It also makes it easier to brush away food particles. In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by 80%*.
Fissure seals are a simple and quick procedure which does not require any drilling or anaesthetic. The seal is made if a white composite resin similar to the one used for fillings.
The procedure goes as follows:
- The tooth surfaces are slightly roughened to ensure the sealant bonds well to the tooth.
- The tooth is then cleaned and dried.
- A bonding agent, similar to glue, is painted on the tooth which is set with a UV light.
- The liquid sealant is put on the teeth, its liquid consistency means it gets in all the deep grooves and pits. This is also set with a UV light.
- Lastly, the bite is checked and any excess sealant is polished away.
The whole process takes about 5 minutes per tooth and the sealant often lasts several years. At first it might feel a little different to the tongue but after a few days it will become the new normal.
If your child is eligible for the Medicare Child Dental Benefit Schedule the full cost of fissure seals could be covered under Medicare.