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Pit and Fissure Sealants (P.F.S) are actually a great concept and are considered a big part of preventative dentistry…they actually release fluoride!
P.F.Ss are ‘plastic’ coatings (acrylate resin), that are placed on top of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Ideally, it is best to place them when the permanent back teeth just erupt into the mouth.
The back teeth (molars), have many deep pits and grooves on the top or chewing surfaces. (please see accompanying photo). In these deep pits and grooves, it is very easy for food and plaque to accumulate. It’s also hard to keep them clean because they are all the way in the back. So, if food particles just sit in the deep grooves of these back teeth, the food will break down into plaque and the cavity process will begin. The bacteria in the mouth will break the food down into acids which will cause demineralization of the enamel. If this happens repeatedly, then a cavity is sure to form. You may want to re-read the blog “If I have a cavity, then why doesn’t it hurt?” to re-acquaint yourself with the whole cavity process.
How do they work?
There is no freezing or local anaesthetic required to do a sealant. It is a quick and painless procedure.
First: We have to prepare the tooth with a special solution to make sure no bacteria or food particles are present, so that the sealant will adhere strongly to the tooth surface.
Second: Then, we flow a liquid material onto the surface of the tooth, which will flow into all of the deep pits and grooves.
Third: Now, we shine a special Ultra Violet light onto the tooth which will ‘cure’ or turn the liquid into a hardened state.
The end result is a plastic coating on top of the tooth, that prevents food particles from contacting the enamel so the decay process can never start.It is important to note that sealants don’t protect in between the teeth…only the tops of them. So if food remains lodged in between them, it is quite easy for a cavity to start. Flossing is the best way to remove the debris from these areas.
Consumer AlertPlease Note: Sealants do NOT contain Bisphenol A (BP-A) , Bis-GMA or Bis-DMA. A few years back, it was noted that these chemicals may leach out of ‘plastic materials’ and be harmful i.e. a plastic coffee cup that was put into the microwave may release these chemicals when heated up. So, now much care is taken to remove them from plastic-like materials.
On the Bright Side:
1) Sealants are much less expensive and an easier process to endure than fillings.
2) They are usually covered by most dental insurance plans.
3) They last long enough to get your child through their cavity prone years.
So, you may want to consider them as a priority for your children’s dental health…it’s a good investment!
We practice and believe in preventative dentistry. Call us today at (905) 791-3867 to learn more or to book your next dental cleaning.
About Dr. Axelrad
Practicing dentistry for over 23 years, Dr. Robert Axelrad owns and manages his own dental practice Brampton, Ontario. Affectionately known as ‘Brampton’s Gentle Dentist‘, he provides dentistry for children, adults and seniors. Dr. Axelrad recently moved his practice to its current, state-of-the-art dental office at Bestgate Professional Center in Brampton, Ontario in 2002 to accommodate his growing list of happy patients.