Fissure Sealants in Richmond
Since the addition of fluoride to Australian water supplies in the 1960s, tooth decay has reduced significantly. However, the dental community now deals with a new clinical problem called “fluoride bombs”. Because the enamel on the tooth’s surface is stronger due to fluoride in the water, it becomes harder for dental staff to detect decay. Microbes that cause tooth decay can enter the microscopic cracks of the stronger enamel and pits and fissures of the enamel. When entering this way, there is no apparent dental cavity for the microbes to enter the tooth. The decay penetrates through to the softer dentine tissue of the tooth, slowly bubbling away for years. This “fluoride bomb” can almost destroy a tooth.
To combat this, especially in newly-developed teeth which are more susceptible to decay, our dentists use pit and fissure sealants to protect the susceptible grooves.
What is a fissure sealant?
The sealant is a tooth-coloured liquid similar in consistency to nail polish, which flows into the back teeth to fill the grooves. The sealant sets hard after a few minutes. The sealant creates a smooth tooth surface, making the tooth easier to clean. Further, the sealant forms a protective barrier against plaque and bacteria. The fissure sealant also contains fluoride for added tooth protection.
At Richmond Fine Dentistry, we choose to use Fuji VII glass ionomer fissure sealant. We find this product seals and protects better than traditional resin-based sealants. Furthermore, the glass ionomer sealant permits fluoride from the water to permeate into the underlying enamel. This permeation provides your child’s teeth with increased protection from decay.
How is a fissure sealant applied?
Dr Harper or our dental hygienist applies the dental fissure sealant. It is a completely pain-free procedure that will take approximately five minutes per tooth to apply. With regular check-ups, brushing and flossing, fissure seals may last for five or more years.
When should fissure sealants be applied?
The ideal time to have sealants applied is immediately following the emergence of the first permanent molars, at around age six. The subsequent application should occur after the permanent adult premolars come through, between the ages of eleven and fourteen. However, there may be occasions when primary (baby) molars require dental sealants if there is an indication of them developing tooth decay.
Who can benefit from fissure sealants?
Although primarily used on children, many adults choose to undergo fissure sealant treatment to aid in the prevention of tooth decay. Sealants cannot be applied to teeth with detectable decay. Therefore, following a thorough assessment appointment, Dr Harper will advise if dental sealants are a suitable treatment option for you.
We recommend you schedule check-up appointments every six months to enable us to:
- monitor your child’s sealed teeth
- examine others for signs of decay
- check the health of their gums.