Our teeth have a fascinatingly complex design with a hard outer layer like a helmet, a protective second layer acting as a cushion, and an inner layer with pipes of moving liquid to keep the tooth alive. Beyond the structural composition of each tooth, the shape of each tooth is also different.
The front teeth are shaped like a shovel on the tongue side to help tear into food. The back teeth are shaped with tips high up like mountain peaks and crevices low down resembling streams in valleys to increase the efficiency of grinding and chewing.
All of this allow us to break down food into small particles in our mouth and make the job easier for our digestive system. A lack of teeth has been shown to result in the regular swallowing of larger pieces of food with a reduced nutrition uptake, leading to a reduced lifespan!
There are also variations in the shape of the teeth, no two individuals have the same dental makeup. In patients where the crevices of the back teeth are deep, a higher risk of decay exists. This is because these crevices are too narrow for the bristles of the toothbrush to clean out. A dietary inbalance leaning towards sugar and acids can also impact on this risk.
(Below) A tooth with bacteria building up in the grooves which can be seen by the brown staining.
(Below) The same tooth after fissure sealant treatment with The Smile Team Balwyn North dentist.
Fissure sealants are to protect teeth
Fissure sealants are designed to seal off these hard to clean areas to prevent decay from forming underneath. To apply a fissure sealant, we first investigate the pits and fissures for decay by removing all suspicious staining while checking for softness, shadowing underneath. In the vast majority of cases, the fissure sealant procedure does not require anaesthesia. Once this is done the tooth is prepared with a weak acid and the appropriate material is then applied to seal off the entire surface. A white material will always be used at The Smile Team Balwyn North dentist that will blend in with the tooth to a natural appearance.
For many patients it’s best to fissure seal the teeth as the teeth grow into the mouth. This is the time when the teeth are the most vulnerable owing to a combination of factors. The first set of permanent molars teeth can benefit from fissure sealants around 6 to 8 years of age, premolars and the second set of permanent molars come through between 11-14 years of age. Adults with deep crevices and a higher than average decay risk can also benefit from fissure sealants on teeth.