dental fillings & Fissure sealants
Most people have fillings of one sort or another but today, because we are much more conscious of our smile, we can choose a natural looking alternative – the composite or tooth-coloured filling.
A composite resin is a tooth-coloured mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide) first introduced in the 1960s. Originally only used for front teeth because of their softer nature, modern improvements to their composition make them generically suitable today.
Composite fillings are more difficult to place than silver fillings so may take your dentist 15-20 minutes longer to complete and because they are considered to be a cosmetic treatment, they are not available on the NHS and must be paid for.
The main advantage of composite fillings is their aesthetic appeal. The main disadvantage is their life expectancy. White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings but there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of your composite filling can depend on the depth of cavity and its position in the mouth; your dentist is best positioned to advise you.
We may use Amalgam as one of your filling materials. Amalgam is a mercury based product that is harder wearing than a composite material, therefore is more likely to be used on a Molar Tooth.
As with any clinical decision that a dentist has to make when treating a patient, the choice of appropriate material used to restore a tooth is down to the clinician concerned.
Article 10(2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/852 contains the following provisions relating to dental amalgam - shall not be used for dental treatment of:
a) deciduous teeth
b) children under 15 years
c) pregnant or breastfeeding women
except when deemed strictly necessary by the dental practitioner based on the specific medical needs of the patient.
What are tooth fissures?
Deep pits and grooves on the surfaces of the back teeth (usually on the molars) are known as fissures. As they are very narrow it is difficult to clean them with a toothbrush and toothpaste alone as the bristles are too thick and do not reach down into the fissure.
Every time you eat or drink bacteria can enter the fissures, gradually making them wider and deeper overtime and eventually resulting in tooth decay.
Tooth fissures are common in children and teenagers and will often cause cavities- normally in the back teeth.
Fissure sealants are an effective way of helping to protect young teeth and they can also provide protection for permanent molars and pre-molars once they have erupted and are mature enough for application.
A dentist will often recommend a fissure sealant for adults who are at a high risk of developing cavities as a result of tooth fissures.
What is a fissure sealant?
A fissure sealant is defined as a ‘preventative dental treatment’. Effectively, a clear, plastic material is placed onto the surface of your teeth to help protect it and prevent the bacteria from entering the fissures.
Sealants can be applied to any tooth with pits or fissures, provided the surface is sound and it has no previous fillings.
Sealants are most commonly applied to the molars and pre-molars.
How is the sealant applied?
It is quick, easy and comfortable to apply a fissure sealant. There is no need for an anaesthetic, drills or needles. Your tooth and fissures will be prepared and cleaned before the sealant is applied. Following application the sealant will be hardened under a special UV light- forming a protective coating over the tooth.
Fissure sealants can be applied by a dentist or dental hygienist.
When should I have a fissure sealant applied?
It is recommended that the sealant is applied as early as possible after the adult teeth have erupted as this offers the best chance of success. It is important to ensure that your tooth enamel is fully matured before applying any sealant.
Your Dentist can advise you depending on your risks and the condition of your teeth.
How successful are sealants?
It is widely agreed that sealants are highly effective in helping to prevent decay in fissures.
Just like a normal filling, a fissure sealant can last for many years with the correct maintenance and care.
If the sealant is damaged or falls out it can be easily replaced.
Regular dental and hygienist checks are important in order to maintain the condition of your sealants and pick up any problems early.
To enable the smooth running of the practice we would request that all patients give us at least 24 hours’ notice in order to change or cancel their appointment. We also politely ask that patients inform us when they have a cold-sore to allow us to re-arrange your appointment to prevent any wasted journeys or time.