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Fissure sealants, and how they protect your children’s teeth

25 April 2022

It’s hard to believe, but almost a quarter of 5-year-olds in England have tooth decay, with 3 or 4 teeth affected on average, and tooth extraction is the most common reason for hospital admission for children aged 6 to 10.

Tooth decay is caused by a build-up of dental plaque which eats at the tooth enamel and causes a hole. Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent cavities and fillings; but did you know that there is a safe and painless treatment, available free of charge on the NHS, which can help to protect your children’s teeth? It’s called Fissure Sealants.

Most tooth decay in children occurs in the back teeth, where the narrow grooves, or ‘fissures’, can be hard to keep clean. This means that bacteria and food particles can stick around and start to damage the enamel.

Fissure sealants are a preventative treatment that involves applying a plastic coating to these difficult to reach grooves. The smooth, sealed surfaces are then much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal brushing.

Sealants are normally applied to permanent teeth as they start to emerge (usually between 6 and 7 years) and further applications can be made as other teeth begin to show. The process is quick and easy, and usually only takes a couple of minutes per tooth. The tooth is first cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and then dried with air. The sealant (in liquid form) is then applied with a brush and hardened with a special bright light. No drilling is involved in the process, and the teeth are left completely undamaged.

Sealants can last for years; however we recommend your children continue to have regular checks ups to ensure the protective coating is still intact. And although treated teeth are much better protected, you children should still brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Reducing the amount of sugary foods and drink in their diet will further reduce the risk of decay and the likelihood of them needing fillings, or at worst, extractions.

To find out more about fissure sealants, or to book an appointment for your children, please call our reception team on 01805 623657.


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