A fissure sealant is a safe and painless way of protecting teeth from decay. Traditionally used for children, a sealant is a plastic coating applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth to stop decay starting in the tiny grooves. Liquid sealant is applied to the surface of the tooth and set with a special light.
Some teeth have deep grooves that are prone to decay and teeth at the back of the mouth may be difficult to clean. These benefit from additional protection. In children, fissure sealants can help to keep such vulnerable teeth free from decay right into adulthood.
Your dentist will check the fissure sealants regularly to ensure that they are still intact. Sometimes they need to be replaced, but in most cases they do not. The effect of fissure sealants is long lived - scientific reviews carried out by a respected organisation known as the Cochrane Database in 1993 and 2004 show that fissure sealants reduce caries by 71-86% after 1 year and by 57-59% even after four years.
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Anaesthetic isn't necessary. Placing a fissure sealant is a quick and painless procedure.
No, but fissure sealants are just one aspect of prevention.