Molars and premolars have fissures or grooves running in the troughs between the cusps on the tops of the teeth. These fissures may trap bacteria on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. When exposed to sugar, these bacteria produce acids, which attack the tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. If the fissures are very deep, sometimes casual tooth-brushing does not remove the bacteria.
Sealants can be applied by the dentist on the fissures, filling them up and preventing bacterial stagnation, thereby preventing tooth decay. Before the sealant is applied, the tooth has to be cleaned. A weak acid is then applied to improve the retention of the sealant. The tooth is then dried, and sealant is then painted on the grooves. The sealant is then cured with an activating light.
Not all teeth require sealants. Usually, it is those teeth at the back of the mouth that are hard to reach, that will benefit most from sealants. Your dentist will assess your risks for tooth decay, and decide if sealants would suit you. People who frequently consume lots of sweet drinks, eat lots of candy & sweet foods, and don’t brush their teeth properly, will be very prone to tooth decay. Fissure sealants are highly recommended for these individuals. It is a small price to pay to avoid the cost of expensive restorative work in case there is tooth decay (caries).