Dental fissures are the grooves that naturally occur on the biting surface of teeth.
All molars and premolars have fissures to some degree. If fissures are very deep and narrow, toothbrush bristles cannot fit or reach inside to clean the teeth and remove food particles. Trapped food attracts bacteria, which multiply within the fissures and make a sticky coating called plaque. Plaque acids eat into the tooth enamel and cause decay.
A fissure is five times more likely to develop decay than other tooth surfaces. In children and adolescents, the chewing and biting surfaces of molars and premolars are most vulnerable.
Fissure sealants are plastic coatings that fill the fissures and protect teeth from dental plaque and acids. Many studies have shown that fissure sealants are effective in reducing the occurrence of tooth decay. On a tooth surface with completely sealed fissures, protection is 100%. As the fissure sealant wears down, protection is reduced.
However even after five years the risk of decay is half that of an unprotected tooth.
Maintenance of a fissure seal: A regular check-up as recommended every 6-12 months as maintenance of a fissure sealant . This allows the early detection of sealant loss or tooth decay. A sealant can be easily replaced if partially lost due to wear and tear.