Painless and easy, that’s precisely what your teeth would love in getting treated on developing fissures. Yes, you heard it right, dental sealants provide a great way of non-invasive and convenient surgical procedure for sealing fissures that usually occur in rear molars and premolars which are at risk of decay.
In the modern world, dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease and the principal cause of tooth loss. Hence prevention of the development of caries, in particular, occlusal caries, is of utmost importance in maintaining a healthy set of the most important eating and smiling tool God has gifted to humankind.
There are plenty of benefits of treatment using fissure sealants besides being pain-free which include reduced risk of cavities, long-lasting, quick and less time consuming, protecting the enamel of the teeth from the build-up of plaque, and so on.
The sealants are basically a resin-based chemical that, when applied on the chewing surface of the molars, form a protective layer that keeps food and bacteria from getting stuck in the tiny grooves in the teeth causing decay.
Clinical application and performance of pit and fissure sealants are in vogue worldwide and the best and most effective method in modern dentistry to prevent fissure caries and their continued development.
The most important benefit of dental fissure sealants is the prevention of decay and cavities which can be painful and costly to treat if allowed to progress.
Besides being an easy, quick, and inexpensive technique, fissure sealants once applied in a painless process can last for several years without needing replacement. Caries usually develops in rear molars where it’s difficult to brush or floss properly.
Hence shielding those places with protective layers of sealants is a prudent way to prevent cavity-inducing harmful bacteria. This is the most effective and simple way to keep caries at bay.
Bacteria and acids are the two horrendous enemies of the dental line, especially the molars and premolars. Fissure sealants act as a no-entry barrier to these unwanted elements.
The sealants are typically installed on the grinding surface of the molars at the rear of the mouth. These are the ones that mostly develop surface deformities leading to damage by bacteria.
Keeping away from damage to the teeth with wholesome oral care is much better than going for a cure after they appear. A fissure or dental sealants are surely one of umpteen methods to keep off the decay that leads to dental cavities.
Fissure sealants normally provide a host of benefits to both children and adults. Children after having permanent molars at the age of 6 to 10 are the usual candidates for undergoing sealant application as recommended by dentists.
This is because they are the most vulnerable ones to have deep pits or fissures which are at risk for decay in the progressive years.
Besides children, adults can also benefit from sealant protection who suffers from cavities caused by a sugary diet or inadequate oral hygiene. Oral medications causing xerostomia can induce caries in many adults and they could protect their teeth with sealants effectively.
The sealant not only protects the patient’s teeth from further decay but also acts as a barrier against enamel damage, which is difficult to avoid.
This is especially important for patients who are predisposed to plaque and those who consume highly acidic beverages, which will eventually affect the enamel.
Furthermore, the sealant is useful for patients who have gaps between their teeth because it allows the dentist to easily cover the gaps by filling between them, thus preventing plaque and food from accumulating between them. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes per tooth, making it both simple and efficient.
The Procedure Fissure Sealants
The application of fissure sealant to one or more teeth requires just an office visit and therefore must be executed strictly by a trained dental professional.
Knowing this fact, it is common for the dental hygienist or the dentist to clean the teeth, examine them, and then apply the dental sealant to the tooth’s edge where it bites the food.
Dental or fissure sealants application is a simple and totally painless procedure that usually takes minutes to complete in a routine dental check-up.
Few steps are involved in the process like thoroughly cleaning and drying in a chemical solution followed by applying on the tooth surface to roughen it for proper adherence. The etch is then rinsed off followed by applying the sealant into the grooves of the tooth.
For hardening of the sealant, a special light ray is cast on the application site. This stays for years depending upon the quality of the sealant.
The sealant treatment is inexpensive and time-wise as compared to conventional long-term dental treatments. They are convenient and preventative in nature and help to avoid more uncomfortable traditional dental treatments.
Types of Fissure Sealants
It is a matter of personal preference. Coloured sealants which are very white or even pink have been shown to be more visible to the person who has the sealant and the dentist inspecting the sealant.
The more visible fissure sealants are, the easier it is to determine whether they need to be replaced.
The durability of the sealant depends on how well the dentist controls contamination from several factors such as saliva, blood, and water during the process.
To completely dry the area, a rubber dam or several pieces of cotton wool may be required.
Glass ionomer cements, which differ slightly from plastic sealants, typically are not that durable.
They are beneficial for children who are at high risk of dental decay or when it is essentially difficult to place the sealant, such as teeth that are still mostly in the gums or restless children who are generally unwilling to cooperate with the dentist.
How effective are fissure sealants?
It is obvious by now that fissure sealants are extremely effective at lowering the possibility of any further decay.
Several research conducted over the last 30 years has shown this, but many investigations have also shown that sealants are prone to falling out.
On average, half of the sealants last 7 years, 30% demand one reapplication, 10% need two reapplications, and 10% need three or more applications.
If sealants fail, it is highly probable that it’s due to a technical error in the sealant’s application rather than a lack of bond strength.
The bond between the sealant and the tooth is unlikely to fail if applied correctly and with expert hands.
The majority of sealants fail within the first 6 months, which is most usually due to contamination during the fissure sealant application.
Decay on a person’s tooth can be difficult to diagnose sometimes. As a result, some dentists are concerned that placing a sealant over decay will worsen the condition of the decay in the future.
Even if the dentist accidentally covers a small amount of decay, these areas of decay do not progress quickly, whatsoever.
Some dentists even consciously leave a small portion of decay in place to prevent any further tooth damage, which is also reasonable.
Sealants are supported from a cost-effectiveness standpoint in a person who has a chance of decay in their mouth, than those individuals with two or more decayed, missing, or filled teeth due to decay.
In contrast, if a person is not at significant risk, it is advised to avoid placing sealants to save money.
The average amount of time to place sealants is about 10 minutes, whereas the average time to place a similar amalgam filling (silver filling) is around 14 minutes.
As a result, sealants can be concluded:
- To be helpful in preventing decay
- To have relatively long retention in the mouth
- To cease decay that has been covered by the dentist and
- To be superior to amalgam as far as time requirement and tooth damage are concerned.
Dentists typically recommend 6-12 monthly check-ups to monitor tooth decay or sealant loss. Sealed teeth generally do not necessitate any lifestyle or dietary changes.
Even though fissure sealants can aid with decay prevention on molar teeth in particular, it is still important to brush and floss teeth on a regular basis and to avert the elements that lead to tooth decay.
Complications of Fissure Sealants
Nonetheless, fissure sealants may occasionally cause complications such as:
- Minor gum or tooth discomfort as a result of scaling or pre-coating
- Hypersensitivity to sealant chemicals
- An unsettling change in bite due to sealant thickness.