Have you ever taken a good, close look at your teeth in the mirror? Have you noticed how your molars or back teeth appear to have a natural groove or big pits in the biting surface of them? Those aren’t deformities, those fissures and pits are just the natural surface of normal and healthy tooth development. Now look even closer … are the pits and fissures really deep? Are they filled with filling material?
Natural pits and fissures are healthy and normal. However, we are all individual, and some of us have such deep pits and fissures that it is extremely hard to clean them and prevent them from developing cavities. I know all of my pits and fissures decayed before I hit my teenage years. All of my pits and fissures had to be drilled out to remove the decayed tooth structure and then were filled with composite resin to fix the hole that was there. Yes, even dental hygienists have dental histories!
Now we don’t have to wait for kids to get decay in the pits of their teeth. Sealants are a preventive filler that don’t require any freezing or drilling to have done, can be put on baby teeth and adult teeth to prevent cavities from forming in those deep pits and fissures, and the great news is, you can have those pit and fissures sealed by a dental hygienist.
For most parents the thought of having their young child sit in the dental chair for an injection of local anaesthetic (the needle the dentist uses to freeze a tooth and the gum tissue), and then drilling and filling a cavity seems like a nightmare. Never mind putting them through the needle, just worrying if you’ll ever get them back in a dental chair without kicking and screaming after their dental work is done, and also wondering if they have the patience to sit long enough to have the work completed can be a scary thought. This is where sealants can be such a game changer!
If we seal those deep pits and fissures before they get a cavity we can avoid all of the things we hate about having a filling. Sealants don’t require any freezing, so no needle. We don’t drill the tooth at all. Instead we rough up the surface with a little bit of etching material. Then we place the sealant material and shine a blue curing light on the material to harden it and keep it in place. The whole process takes roughly five minutes per tooth.
The sealant fills up the deep pits and fissures making them smooth. This allows easy cleaning of those once deep and hard to reach places with just your regular toothbrush. It also blocks those spots that bacteria just love to live in so the bacteria load in your mouth is much less.
At the Barry’s Bay Dental Hygiene Clinic, Brooke has been placing sealants in our clients’ pits and fissures. She is a prevention specialist who loves providing these preventive treatments to our clients. If you or your child have deep pits and fissures and would like to be assessed by Brooke to have preventive sealants placed, call the Clinic at 613-756-6884 to schedule. She would be happy to help keep you smiling!
About the author: Marcia Rutledge RDH has owned and operated the Barry’s Bay Dental Hygiene Clinic since 2010. She loves being able to provide individual care to each and every one of her patients. Preventive dentistry is Marcia’s passion.
Graphic at top by amatani654 is licensed under CC BY 2.0