Fissure sealants are ‘plastic’ colourless protective liquids, which are painted onto the biting surfaces of the back teeth. They are then hardened by the application of a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light. They are permanent and remain in place for many years.
Fissure sealants have been used in Dentistry for many decades and provide a very effective means of preventing tooth decay. They are usually placed in the adult molar teeth soon after they present themselves in the mouth. The first molar teeth come through at about six years of age and are fissure sealed soon thereafter. The second molar teeth present at twelve years of age and are subsequently fissure sealed. Other teeth can also be fissure sealed, especially in cases where tooth decay is likely to occur rapidly.
Often, one finds adult molar teeth in children which have suffered from a small amount of decay. It is now possible to use painless and drill-free techniques such as special pastes or air-abrasion devices to disinfect and remove this decay and fissure seal the tooth. This prevents the tooth from developing a ‘full blown’ cavity and thus, needing more unpleasant treatment at a later date.