Dental sealants are a quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive solution for preventing cavities. Sealants are done most often on children and dental insurances often cover up to 80% of the cost. This preventative procedure can help save lots of money in pediatric patients who would otherwise need fillings or other restorative procedures to rid the teeth of cavities.
What are sealants?
Sealants are a safe plastic material that is placed in the grooves and pits of the premolars and molars that often collect bacteria and food. It is often hard for children to get their toothbrushes back there where extra protection of the premolars and molars is needed. The sealing process is completely painless and is a quick procedure done by the dental hygienist or dental assistant.
Who needs dental sealants?
Children are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore the problem areas in the back of the mouth that lead to cavities and decay, making them the prime target market for sealants. (However, if adults have certain problem areas that could be solved with sealants, this could be an option for them as well.) The American Dental Association recommends that children receive dental sealants as soon as their adult teeth erupt.
Those who are more susceptible to cavities and decay, don’t have great oral hygiene habits, or lack access to dental care, should consider getting dental sealants as a preventative measure.
How do dental sealants work?
The teeth are cleaned thoroughly and dried. The sealant is applied and spread out into the grooves and pits and is just thick enough to fill in the biggest pits and grooves. Then a curing light is used to harden the sealant and finish the procedure. This normally only takes a few minutes per tooth so you can be in and out in no time.
How long do dental sealants last?
Sealants can last indefinitely, but they need to be checked at regular intervals to make sure they are not chipped or worn away. The dentist or dental hygienist can repair sealants by adding more sealant material. Just like any other dental procedure it is important to have good home care as plaque, bacteria, and other debris can wear down the sealant over time which is why regular dental visits are important.