Dental Care | All You Need To Know About Pit & Fissure Sealants

Pit and fissure sealants

Pit & Fissure Sealants 

Not that long ago, if you didn't brush and floss properly, especially those back teeth, you'd get a cavity and subsequently need a filling. 

While this is still true, dentistry has come a long way and now offers sealants to ward off those cavities and fillings, leaving your teeth protected and 'sealed off' from bacteria, food bits and stuff that you just can't clean away.

Enter sealants, which are generally used on children and young teenagers to prevent cavities from forming in the first place. 

Think of them as another line of defense in the war on bacteria, and something that can offer protection, before stuff starts to hit the proverbial fan.

Sealants are a preventative if you will, as they protect those teeth that have grooves, depressions or pits in them, all places were bacteria loves to thrive.

 If a dental cleaning smooths the teeth so that bacteria has a harder time taking hold, then this is going that one step further and smoothing over the molars that are most at risk for stuff getting in.

So how is it done? Does it hurt? Well, it consists of a plastic coating being brushed onto the teeth. It is estimated that one third of all kids have sealants and not surprisingly, tooth decay rates have gone down too. 

It doesn't take long and no, it doesn't hurt. First the chewing surfaces will be roughened up with an acidy solution to allow the sealant to adhere properly, then the sealant itself is simply painted on. 

It bonds to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a curing light may be used to aid in the setting, but other than that, there is nothing to poke or prod you and you won't feel a thing.

There is no sedation nor injections needed as it is simply brushing on a product, much like you brush your teeth. No muss, no fuss, but a protection against future dental work and fillings that will make everyone smile.

Sealants aren't used on baby teeth, they are just something that will be used on permanent teeth and help that tooth be a healthy addition to your mouth. 

Most kids will have more than one tooth sealed at a time, and mostly they will be at the back of the mouth, in the molars that are responsible for the chewing of our food. After the procedure, you're good to go!

   How Do Sealants Work ?     

Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities.

After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.

   Who Can Get Sealants ?   

Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. 

Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Ask your dentist if sealants are a good option for you and your family.

  How Are Sealants Applied ?   

It’s a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant.

After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

   Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities ?    

Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.

   Are There Any Side Effects of Sealants ?   

With the exception of an allergy that may exist, there are no known side effects from sealants. 

   Is There BPA In Sealants ?  

Yes, there is a tiny amount of BPA in sealants but not enough to cause you or a loved one any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by simply touching a receipt, using cosmetics or coming in contact with dust.

   How Long Do Sealants Last  ?  

Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.

   Are Sealants Covered By Dental Plans ?   

Some plans do cover sealants, so call your dental benefit company to find out what kind of coverage you have. [1]