A fissure seal – or fissure sealant – is a preventative measure where a dentist applies a protective layer into deep grooves and pits (fissures) on your chewing teeth (your molars). This measure helps safeguard your teeth from harmful bacteria that cause decay and other oral health issues over time.
The sealants are made of a white or clear composite resin and look like a white tooth filling.
Typically, this type of treatment is most common for children. Dentists will often recommend these seals as the first, second and third molars appear from around age six to 13. However, adults can still get fissure seals if they’re needed.
Why do I need a fissure seal?
If you have deep grooves and pits in your molars, it can be difficult for you to brush away plaque and other bacteria thoroughly. If left untreated, this hard-to-reach bacteria can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Your affected teeth can then face serious oral health issues, including tooth loss.
A dentist will recommend you get fissure seals before bacteria causes decay. With proper at-home oral care and regular dental visits, seals should help you avoid decay in treated teeth.
Fissure seals vs fillings: Are they the same?
No, a fissure seal isn’t the same as a filling. A fissure seal helps prevent decay in your teeth’s deep grooves. Conversely, a dentist uses a filling to restore a tooth that has damage, typically from decay.
When you get a filling, the dentist will need to remove the decayed portion of your tooth’s enamel (the hard, outer layer on your tooth), clean and fill the hole.
Will getting a fissure seal hurt?
No, getting a fissure seal should be a painless procedure. Depending on your situation, you likely won’t require any anesthetic or drilling to prepare your tooth.
What can I expect when I get a fissure seal?
The dentist will talk through any questions or concerns you or your child may have before beginning treatment. Then, the dentist will:
- prepare your tooth by ensuring it’s free from any bacteria;
- dry the tooth thoroughly;
- apply the sealant to the deep grooves in your tooth;
- use light to bond and harden the sealant;
- ensure the seal fits perfectly with your bite; and
- make adjustments, if necessary, by polishing excess sealant.
Getting a fissure seal takes only a few minutes per tooth.
How do I look after my fissure seals?
Ensure you continue to clean and floss your teeth properly and follow good oral hygiene habits. You’ll notice that your teeth will be easier to clean after getting fissure seals.
Continue to see your dentist regularly (usually every six months) to ensure your seals are in good condition. If you notice that your seal falls out, visit your dentist right away so they can reapply a new one to your tooth.
How long do fissure seals last?
Fissure sealants withstand daily chewing long-term (even up to years). However, it’s important to know that some patients find their seals wear down faster than other patients’. As such, ensure you visit the dentist regularly to ensure your seals are still in good condition.
How much do fissure seals cost?
Please ask our friendly receptionist before booking your appointment to find out how much a fissure seal might cost.
If you’re taking a child to have fissure seals, their appointment may fall under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). The 1300SMILES team can check your child’s eligibility, just fill out the form located here.
Do you have an extras health insurance policy? If so, you might have a level of cover for fissure seals. Check your policy before you book in to see if your insurer will cover all or a portion of the treatment cost.
1300SMILES Dentists also have a variety of flexible payment options including Afterpay, Humm and Zip!
Book in your check-up today to protect your smile and health
Has it been a while since your last check-up? Or perhaps you’re looking for a dentist that values gentle, affordable care? Protect your smile by booking into your nearest 1300SMILES clinic!