Fissure Sealants

Sealants are a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the chewing surfaces and sides of teeth at risk of decay. Sealants can protect your children’s back teeth, so that they may never need to have a filling! They are a protective plastic coating, which are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth at risk of decay.

The chewing surfaces of back teeth have small grooves or fissures which often extend right down into the tooth itself. However well the teeth are brushed, these fissures are very difficult to clean thoroughly. Bacteria and food particles stick to them and eventually cause decay. Fissure sealants completely seal off these grooves, preventing any food particles or bacteria from getting in. They do not affect the normal chewing function of teeth. Fissure Sealants are a cost-effective, minimally invasive treatment to protect teeth form dental decay.

The diagnosis of fissure decay can be a challenge. Due to variations in the enamel thickness in the undulating tooth surface, dental x-rays are not a reliable means of assessing tooth surfaces for Pit and Fissure decay. In some cases the fissure retain food stains, without actually decaying, In line with our philosophy of Minimally Invasive Dentistry we use a number of techniques to determine if the decay has started in the fissures before we apply the fissure sealant.

After cleaning the tooth surface we use decay detecting dye, and Diagnodent Laser fluorescent decay testing,  to check the fissures for decay. If decay is detected the tooth may require a composite resin filling rather than a fissure sealant.

Prior to placing the sealant Air Abrasion is used to prepare the enamel surface for application of the resin sealant.

To protect the dental fissures from decay we recommend to seal the cleaned fissures with a long lasting, flowable resin sealant to provide a new smooth surface which is easy to keep clean and healthy with a toothbrush.

No injection or drilling is needed the entire process is pain free.

It’s best to get advice from your dentist or dental therapist if your child would benefit from fissure sealing the permanent back molar teeth

How is it done?

First the fissure is checked for decay. Then the process simply involves cleaning the tooth surface, preparing it with a special solution, and then applying the coating.  No injections or drilling are needed, and the entire process is pain free.

When should it be done?

The first permanent back molars are usually sealed between 6 and 7 years of age. If required the rest of the molars are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years. 
 

Do the teeth need special care afterwards?

No special care is needed, but the back teeth still need to be brushed regularly with a good toothbrush, preferably using fluoride toothpaste. It’s also important to keep going to your dentist or dental therapist for regular check-ups because other teeth might need attention.

When should it be done?

For best results the permanent back molar teeth should be sealed as soon as they start to come through. This is usually between 6-7 years of age. The remaining molar and premolar teeth should be sealed as soon as they appear - which is usually up to about age 14 years.

The fissures on the back of the upper incisor teeth may also benefit from placement of resin fissure sealants after they erupt into the mouth.

In some cases adults present with unsealed teeth which are difficult to protect from plaque adhesion. Fissure Sealants provide protection from plaque adhesion for adults and children alike. Dr Carolyn Langrell-Read will be happy to discuss if Fissure Sealants are right for you.

How long do Fissure Sealants Last?

No special care is needed to maintain the fissure sealants but you still need to brush the tooth and ideally use a fluoride toothpaste.

Fissure Sealants can last many years but your dentist will need to check them regularly to ensure the seal is still intact.

It is normal that they wear over time and sometimes it is necessary to add to or replace some of the resin sealant to be sure the tooth remains sealed to prevent decay from starting under the sealant.

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Patient feedback

  • As a very anxious dental patient I was recommended Carolyn Langrell-Read by a family member who happens to be a dental nurse herself, high praise in itself. I have now been a patient since 1986 and am extremely happy with her caring and professional manner. I required a significant amount of work to be done and have been well informed throughout each stage of the process. Over the past few years my attitude has changed since my first visit when I was terrified to even walk through the door, recently I was so relaxed that I nearly fell asleep in the chair and not due to sedation!! That is due to Carolyn’s patient, kind and thoughtful nature, it makes travelling from the North Shore very worthwhile indeed.
    Chrissie Cunningham
  • I have known Carolyn Langrell - Read for 6 years. In this time she has treated my gum disease, suggested that I should consider braces, (my bottom teeth were breaking my top teeth), and given me superior dental treatment. Her skill in filling, reconstructing, capping and saving teeth some that have been filled generously with amalgam in the past is extraordinary. Her manner is friendly and professional. She gives you an excellent explanation (both verbal and written) of the treatment she proposes or has achieved. Her equipment is excellent and this combined with her expertise enables her to achieve a very high standard of dental work I feel very confident that Carolyn will look after my teeth in the future and I can recommend her as an exceptional dentist.
    Diane McWilliams
  • Good morning Elaynor Thank you for the follow up call. The treatment has worked well and I have recovered fully. My long term association with your Clinic and repeated visits are a testimony of the good and professional care provided by Dr. Langrell-Read and her staff. I am always impressed with her eye for detail and the ability to listen and to communicate with her patient regarding the treatment planned and undertaken. I have recommended her services to my daughter in law.
    Ram Narayan
  • Carolyn's dedication insists on nothing but the best for her clients. Her well established business in Newmarket has a friendly atmosphere coupled with experience and meticulous care.
    Barbara Curties