Our back molar teeth have pits and grooves in them. These are called fissures. These fissures can sometimes get food and bacteria stuck in them and can be very difficult to clean, making them vulnerable to decay. This is especially true when the teeth first come through between the ages of 6 to 13.
Fissure sealants are thin, white, plastic coatings painted along the fissures which “seal” these decay-prone grooves. The coating bonds to the tooth surface helping to prevent food and bacteria from collecting, and minimising the risk of decay starting in these hard-to-clean areas.
While children are prime candidates for fissure sealants when their molars erupt (around age 6 and age 13), they can also be used in adults with particularly susceptible fissures. Sealants usually last for many years, but may chip and wear over time, so it’s still important to have them checked by your dentist. The good news is, that after 5 years, even after wear, a sealed tooth has half the risk of decay than an unsealed tooth.