What are sealants?
Tooth Sealants refer to a plastic that a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping to prevent the formation of tooth decay. Typically, primary or baby teeth don’t require sealants. Also, all permanent molars don’t require sealants. Your dentist can help you advise you.
How do sealants work?
In many cases, it is nearly impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves between their teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less chance that decay will start.
What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?
The longevity of sealants can vary. Sealants that have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, but sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
Which teeth should be sealed?
Any tooth that has characteristics that a sealant can correct – lessening the risk of developing decay – should be sealed. The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a child’s “back” teeth, and of these teeth, the molars are the most common teeth to seal. The recommendation for sealants should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
What is the procedure for placing sealants?
The procedure usually takes just one visit and can be a very straightforward process. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned and dried. The sealant is then applied to the grooves of the tooth and then hardened with a special blue light. The sealant is then buffed down. The child can resume all normal activities directly after the appointment.
Do sealants lessen the need for brushing and flossing?
Definitely not! Sealants are only one part of the defensive plan against tooth decay, so it’s just as important for children to brush and floss their teeth.
How much do dental sealant treatments cost?
This treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Our business team can tell you whether sealants are covered by your insurance carrier.