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Ask the Experts
Pit & Fissure Sealants
Pit and fissure sealants are a type of dental treatment that helps prevent tooth decay. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, where the grooves and pits on the teeth are deep and difficult to clean. These areas are particularly prone to cavities, as food particles and bacteria can easily get trapped in the crevices.
Sealants are a thin plastic coating that is painted onto the surface of the tooth, sealing off the grooves and pits and creating a smooth surface that is easier to clean. The sealant material is usually a resin that bonds to the tooth surface and hardens under a special light.
The process of getting a sealant is quick and painless. The tooth is cleaned and dried, and the sealant material is applied in liquid form. The material is then hardened with a special light, creating a protective layer over the tooth.
Sealants are most commonly used in children, as their newly erupted permanent teeth are more vulnerable to decay. However, they can also be used in adults who are at a higher risk for cavities, such as those with deep grooves or a history of tooth decay.
Procedure of Pit and Fissure Sealants
1. Cleaning the Teeth:
Before the sealant is applied, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned and dried. The dentist or dental hygienist will use a dental handpiece or air polisher to remove any plaque and debris from the teeth.
2. Isolation of Teeth:
The tooth is isolated to keep it dry during the application process. Cotton rolls or a dental dam may be used to keep saliva and other fluids from contaminating the tooth surface.
3. Acid Etching:
A special etching gel is applied to the tooth surface for a few seconds to create a rough surface that the sealant can bond to. The gel is then rinsed off and the tooth is dried.
4. Sealant Application:
The sealant material is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth using a brush or an applicator. The material is typically a type of resin that hardens when exposed to a curing light.
The sealant is cured by shining a special light on it for a few seconds. This causes the resin to harden and form a protective barrier over the tooth surface.
6. Checking the Bite:
After the sealant is applied, the dentist or dental hygienist will check the patient’s bite to ensure that the sealant is not interfering with the way the teeth come together.
The entire procedure of applying sealants is relatively quick and painless, taking only a few minutes per tooth. Sealants can last for several years before they need to be reapplied.
Overall, they are a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay in the back teeth. They are particularly useful for children and teenagers who may have difficulty cleaning their teeth properly, as well as for adults who are at higher risk for cavities. If you are interested in getting sealants for yourself or your child, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist to see if this treatment is right for you.
Benefits of Pit and Fissure Sealants
1. Protects vulnerable areas:
They are placed on the biting surfaces of teeth to fill in the deep grooves and pits that can trap food and bacteria. These areas are difficult to clean with a toothbrush and can lead to tooth decay if left untreated.
2. Prevents cavities:
By sealing these vulnerable areas, they can prevent cavities from forming in the first place. This can save patients time and money on future dental treatments.
3. Safe and painless:
They are a safe and painless dental treatment. They are simply painted onto the tooth surface and then cured with a special light. There is no drilling or injection required.
They can last for several years with proper care. This means patients can enjoy the benefits of this preventive treatment for an extended period of time.
5. Suitable for all ages:
They are a great option for patients of all ages. They are often recommended for children and teenagers who may be at higher risk for tooth decay, but they can also be beneficial for adults who have deep grooves in their teeth.
FAQ's Pit & Fissure Sealants
Pit and fissure sealants are a dental treatment used to protect the deep grooves and crevices on the chewing surfaces of teeth from decay.
Both children and adults can get pit and fissure sealants, but they are typically recommended for children as a preventive measure.
The process of applying sealants is quick and painless. First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then, an acidic solution is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth to help the sealant bond to the enamel. After a few seconds, the acid is rinsed off and the teeth are dried again. Finally, the sealant material is applied to the grooves and crevices of the teeth and hardened with a special light.
Pit and fissure sealants can last for several years, but they do require periodic monitoring and maintenance by a dentist.
Research has shown that pit and fissure sealants are highly effective at preventing tooth decay in the deep grooves and crevices of the teeth, especially when combined with good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.