Is Your Child a Candidate for Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants have been proven a safe and cost-efficient dental procedure. Studies show that many children are exceptional candidates for dental sealants. Parents should consider sealants as a preventive measure in their child’s oral health.

The majority of children’s cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of the newly erupted teeth because food particles and bacteria are not easily cleaned out. Dental sealants act as a barrier to seal-off space between the tooth surface and any small food particles or bacteria that may otherwise cause a cavity. Paired with twice-daily brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste, a healthy diet and visiting the dentist twice a year to monitor the sealants’ placement or bond on the tooth, properly applied dental sealants are 100-percent effective in preventing cavities.

Benefits of dental sealants:

  • Paired with good oral health care, sealants are 100-percent effective against cavities in teeth that are sealed and properly maintained.
  • Minimally invasive, safe and effective preventive procedure
  • Dental Sealants cost less than getting a single cavity filled.

Common Questions About Dental Sealants

What is a Sealant?

A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities.

Why can’t I just brush and floss?

While brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles often can’t reach into the teeth’s depressions and grooves. Sealants protect those areas and prevent food and bacteria from getting in.

How are sealants applied?

Dr. Schmitt can apply sealants easily, and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. He first cleans the teeth that will be sealed, then “paints” the sealant on the tooth. It bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Your dentist will use a special curing light to help the sealant harden. Sealant treatment is painless and takes anywhere from five to 45 minutes to apply, depending on how many teeth need to be sealed.

How long will a sealant last?

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. The risk of decay decreases significantly after sealant application. During your regular dental visits, Dr. Schmitt will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.

Who should receive sealant treatment?

Children, because they have newly erupted, permanent teeth, receive the greatest benefit from sealants. The chewing surfaces of a child’s teeth are most susceptible to cavities. Surveys show that the majority of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child’s newly erupted teeth because food particles and bacteria cannot be cleaned out. Other patients also can benefit from sealant placement, such as those who have existing pits and grooves susceptible to decay. Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95-percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth.

Aren’t sealants just for kids?

Decay can begin early in life, so dentists usually apply sealants to children’s and teenagers’ premolars and molars to protect them. But sealants can protect adults’ teeth, too. Ask Dr. Schmitt about sealants for your children or for yourself to see if they would be beneficial.

Are sealants covered by insurance?

Insurance benefits for sealant procedures have increased considerably, especially as companies start to realize that sealants are a proven preventive technique. This preventive measure can help reduce future dental expenses and protect the teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment.