A dental sealant is a thin coating of dental plastic that has been applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars. This helps to prevent tooth decay and protect your teeth from cavities. Most children and teenagers experience tooth decay in this area because it can be difficult to reach and brush properly. These dental sealants prevent food debris and particles from becoming stuck into the grooves of your back teeth.
Which teeth benefit the most from dental sealants?
The back teeth will usually benefit the most from dental sealants, as these are the teeth that are most likely to trap food, and they are the most difficult for children and teenagers to brush properly. The molars begin to erupt around age six, however a secondary set of molars erupts around 12 years of age. Sealants should be applied soon after these molars have erupted for the best protection and benefit.
How are dental sealants applied to the teeth?
The application of dental sealants is completely painless and will take only a single short visit to our office. The teeth will be cleaned and rinsed thoroughly, and then a special gel will be applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars for a few seconds. The teeth will again be rinsed and dried, and then the sealant will be painted onto the teeth. A special ultraviolet curing light will be used to quickly harden the sealant.
Are dental sealants visible?
Dental sealants are not visible. In most cases, they are completely clear, though some sealants may be naturally tooth-colored. If you perform a very close inspection of the teeth you may be able to see them, but they will not be recognizable when your child smiles or speaks.
Will dental sealants make my child’s teeth feel different?
Your child may notice a slight difference right after the sealants are applied, but it should not be enough to bother them. The dental sealants are very thin and they will not affect your child’s ability to chew or speak properly.
Are dental sealants an alternative to fluoride treatments?
Dental sealants are only applied to the back teeth, and should not be considered a replacement for professional fluoride treatments. In fact, the two treatments are intended to work in concert with one another to keep your child’s teeth as healthy as possible.
How do dental sealants fit into preventive dentistry care?
Dental sealants should be a part of your child’s complete preventive dental program. This includes brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once per day, making wise food choices, and having regular fluoride treatments.
What if my child’s tooth already has a cavity?
Even if your child’s tooth already has a small cavity developing, dental sealants can still help. It can protect the tooth from further decay and prevent bacteria and food particles from entering the cavity, In fact, if the cavity is small enough, having a dental sealant applied may help you avoid the expense and discomfort of having to have the cavity filled or repaired.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants are extremely durable and can last up to 10 years when your child continues to follow good dental hygiene rules of care. Our dentist will check the sealants at every visit, and if any damage has occurred, this can easily be repaired by painting additional sealant material over the damaged area.
Will my insurance cover dental sealants?
Most dental insurance providers will cover dental sealant treatments as a preventive measure, but it is best to contact your provider before treatment to be sure. Even if your particular insurance provider does not cover this treatment, dental sealants are very inexpensive and are an excellent investment in the future dental health of your child.