Fissures are grooves that naturally form on the chewing surfaces of teeth. They are present on posterior teeth and occasionally on anterior teeth. If fissures are deep, toothbrush bristles cannot fit inside these grooves to effectively clean them. Food and bacteria can trap around these areas, leading to tooth decay. A fissure is five times more likely to develop tooth decay compared to other tooth surfaces. Fissure sealants are preventative tooth coloured coats placed on grooves to protect them from decay. The sealants may gradually wear away over a few years and can be reapplied if required.
Although fissure sealants protect the biting surfaces of teeth from decay, other surfaces of the teeth are still at risk of tooth decay. It is still important to floss and brush teeth that have been fissure sealed. Using fluoride in toothpaste and reducing sugar intake will further reduce tooth decay risks. A convenient way to monitor grooves in teeth is to maintain regular dental visits with your local dentist and they will assess the need for fissure sealants!