Have you ever noticed why we still sometimes get teeth cavities, especially in the back teeth like premolar and molars, despite our best efforts to maintain an impeccable oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing and diet care? This is because of various grooves and ridges that are present on the biting surfaces of the back teeth which promote food stagnation and development of teeth cavities. This type of teeth cavities are known as pit and fissure caries. So what can you do to prevent the development of pit and fissure cavities? Continue reading to find out!
What Are Pit and Fissure Cavities?
Our back teeth, the premolars and molars contain several grooves and ridges on their chewing surfaces, known as pits and fissures respectively. These pits and fissures are quite hard to clean through the toothbrush and therefore serve as points of accumulation and stagnation of food particles and various harmful bacteria. As a result, the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth are quite vulnerable to the development of teeth cavities.
How Are They Fixed?
One of the most reliable methods of preventing pit and fissure cavities is to make the biting surfaces of the teeth smooth by placing thin layers restorative materials on the biting surfaces of the teeth. This smooth surface of the teeth facilitates in easier cleaning of the teeth, in addition to preventing food stagnation and bacterial adhesion. These restorative materials are known as pit and fissure or dental sealants.
Who Requires Dental Sealants?
Usually, dental sealants are placed on the chewing surfaces of both the primary and permanent molars. However, they can be applied on any tooth which contains deep grooves and fissures, and is susceptible to the development of pit and fissure cavities.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
The exact method of application of pits and fissure sealant application depends upon the type of the restorative material used. The most commonly used dental sealants are the resin based dental composites. Dental sealants are very easy for your dentist to apply and require very less time for their application.
- Cleaning the Tooth Surface – the biting surface of the teeth on which the sealant has to be applied is thoroughly cleaned and dried afterwards to facilitate optimal adhesion of the sealant.
- Application of the Etching Agent – an etching agent, usually 37% of Phosphoric acid gel is applied over the tooth’s occlusal surface for 30 seconds to partially demineralize the tooth structure. After 30 seconds, the etchant is washed away and the tooth is completely dried again.
- Application of the Sealant – Next, a thin layer of the dental sealant is applied over the tooth surface. Polymerization of the sealant is carried out by exposing it to a visible light source, such as an LED light or halogen lamp.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
With proper care, dental sealants can last for many years. Your dentist will check the condition of your dental sealants upon each dental visit and if required, may replace or repair the sealants.