Did You Know
Sealants have to be applied as soon as the adult teeth start to come through: the first group between 6 and 7 years of age and the second group between 11 and 14.
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Pit and fissure sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting children's teeth from tooth decay and subsequent fillings.
They provide a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves of the teeth. It is a totally pain free process that takes only a few minutes per tooth and lasts for many years.
The sealant is a colourless protective plastic coating which is applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars and pre-molars). These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. The bristles of a toothbrush are too large to reach into some of these areas. Our dentist will tell you which teeth should be sealed after examining them, and checking whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves which can be sealed, others form with shallow ones which may not need sealing.
However sealants have to be applied as soon as the adult teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest of the teeth are usually sealed as soon as they appear, which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.
Sealing is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and then dried. The liquid sealant is then put on to the tooth and allowed to set hard - usually by shining a light on it. The process is totally pain-free (no injections, no drilling), and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards.
Sealants can last from two to seven years, but may last up to 15 years. Your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes we may need to add or replace some sealant to make sure that no decay can start underneath.