The pit and fissure of a tooth refers to the grooves in molars and premolars. These grooves are deep, making them difficult to clean and susceptible to decay. Most cavities in teeth begin in these grooves. By placing a sealant, a thin plastic coating, in these grooves we can help protect teeth from decay and make them easier to clean.
Sealants are applied first by thoroughly cleaning the tooth?s surface. Then cotton rolls are placed on the sides of the teeth to help keep them dry. A dry surface is necessary to allow the sealant material to adhere to the tooth. After the cotton rolls are in place we will place an Etch solution to the teeth. This solution is only on the tooth for a few seconds before we wash and dry the tooth off. The Etch solution helps clean out the deep grooves for the sealant. After this solution is cleaned off the teeth, we apply the sealant material into the grooves of the teeth. This material is hardened by our curing light. When the sealant is hardened we will check to make sure the material has filled the grooves properly and creates a smooth surface on the tooth.
Pit and fissure sealants cannot guarantee that a tooth will not have decay in the future, but they do reduce the chances significantly, especially in healthy teeth. To continue keeping to your teeth protected from decay it is important to continue excellent oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, eating a balanced diet, and coming in for regular dental and hygiene visits.