Sealants are applied quickly and painlessly to the biting surface of molars and premolars. The best time to apply sealants to your child’s developing teeth is right after an adult tooth has erupted.
The best time to apply sealants is right after an adult tooth has erupted. Developing teeth have many tiny grooves and pits that can be too small for toothbrush bristles to effectively clean. The sealants do just that, seal off these grooves and pits to prevent cavities from forming when molars (used for chewing) hide leftover food and bacteria that can cause cavities!
How do sealants work?
Sealants provide molars and premolars with a thin, protective coating that can help keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is really important when it comes to your child’s dental health!
Who should get sealants?
Almost anyone (children and adults) can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. A child’s first molars start to erupt when they are around 6 years old, and second molars break through around 12 years old or so. Using sealants to protect these teeth as soon as they appear can help to protect them from cavities right away, which can save a lot of time and money in the future! Ask our team if sealants are a good option for you and your children at your next visit.
How are sealants applied to teeth?
Applying sealants is quick and easy! Your teeth will be cleaned and dried before placing an acidic gel sealant material on your teeth, to roughen up the tooth surface and help create a bond between your tooth and the sealant that will be applied. Then, your dentist will remove the gel with a quick rinse, and dry your tooth again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Finally, a special blue light will be used to harden the sealant.
Do sealants and fluoride do the same thing?
Sealants and fluoride both prevent tooth decay, but in two different ways. Sealants work to keep germs and food particles out of the grooves in the back teeth by coating them with a safe protective layer. Fluoride in drinking water and dental products, such as toothpaste, protects against cavities by making teeth stronger. Find out if your city or town adds fluoride to your water by visiting this link from the CDC.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants can last a long time to continue protecting your teeth! At your regular dental exam, your dentist will check the condition of any sealants and can make a plan to reapply new sealants if needed.
Will my insurance cover sealants?
The answer is: Possibly. It’s true that some dental insurance plans cover the cost of sealants, but it depends on your level of coverage. Please call your dental benefit company to find out what kind of coverage you have.
Where can I find more information on sealants?
You can find extra information about sealants here on Mouth Healthy, provided by the American Dental Association. In fact, here’s a great video they’ve provided on their site!