When our first permanent molar teeth come through at approximately age six, you can see a pattern of grooves and fissures on the biting surface. In many cases these are the weakest part of the tooth. In conjunction with the limited cleaning abilities of the average six year old and the sweet diet that children often have, these fissures are generally the first part of a tooth to decay and need filling.
To protect this weak part of the tooth, we can bond a thin layer of plastic over the fissure. This prevents the bacteria and sugary foods from getting into the fissure and causing decay. Once the tooth has been sealed it should be monitored regularly to check its integrity. Fissure sealants can reduce the occurrence of decay by up to 80%
Placing a fissure sealant is a quick and painless way of protecting a tooth. It is normally done shortly after the tooth erupts and requires some cooperation from the patient so may not be possible for all children.