What Do Sealants Do?

 

Brushing and flossing remove a lot of plaque from teeth, but it’s easy to miss the nook and crannies in the back of the teeth. This lets bacteria grow, which causes cavities and gum disease. Dental sealants are a safety net to help keep teeth clean. In children, research shows that sealants reduce the risk of decay by 80%. Understand what sealants do, how they work and why children benefit.

How Do Sealants Work?

The American Dental Association describes sealants as raincoats for teeth. A sealant is a thin coating that is painted onto the surface of the teeth, typically the premolars and molars. The sealants bonds with the enamel of the teeth, forming a protective barrier over each tooth. The sealant protects the teeth from small food particles and acid getting on the teeth.

Dental sealants are applied after a tooth cleaning. The process is quick. Once your teeth are clean, the dentist applies a gel to your teeth that roughs up the tooth surface. Then, the gel is rinsed off. Your teeth are dried. The sealant is applied to the teeth. A blue light is used to harden the sealant. There is no pain. The only side effect could be an allergy, but that is rare.

Who Should Get Sealants and When?

It’s recommended that children get sealants after their molars come in, between six and eight years old. Children are still learning to brush effectively at this age, so sealants are a tool that can protect these young teeth. Some adults get sealants to protect their older teeth. Dentists make even recommend sealants for baby teeth, because these teeth hold the correct spacing for the permanent teeth. Your dentist can assess your child’s teeth to determine the best course of action.

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants last for about ten years, but the dentist should check the sealant during regular visits to determine their condition. Reapplication might be necessary, but the process can be done quickly and painlessly. The dentist will still need to check for tooth decay and gum disease. Don’t skip your annual checkups.

Will Insurance Cover the Cost of the Sealant?

Every insurance plan has its owns benefits. You will have to ask your dental insurance plan to find out what coverage you have. Some plans cover sealants for children, while others don’t. Sealants are an investment in your child’s health and well-being. Don’t discount the cost without thinking about the long-term benefits.

Talk to Your Dentist

Your family dentist can give you more information about sealants for your children and yourself.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia, Dental Care

Alliance Dentistry, Family Dentist Cary, NC

 

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