What is a dental sealant?
Dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surface of premolars, molars and any deep pits or fissures of the teeth. A sealant can protect the tooth by covering deep grooves and creating a smooth, easy-to-clean surface.
According to the American Dental Association, more than 75 percent of dental decay starts in these deep grooves, so a sealant can protect teeth from decay for many years. Dentists should check for wear or chipping at regular dental check-ups.
How is a sealant applied to your teeth?
The process of applying a sealant to your teeth is simple and painless. In fact it can be completed by Dr. Tara Pool or one of our hygienists in just a few minutes per tooth.
The application steps are as follows:
- First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried, and the hygienist applies cotton or another absorbent material around the surface of the tooth.
- An acid solution is used to cover the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up. This helps the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried again.
- Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes the dentist will use a special curing light to help the sealant harden.
While regular dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, can remove most food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, they can’t always get into the nooks and crannies, especially of the molars. Sealants can protect these vulnerable areas from decay by essentially “sealing out” food and plaque.
Who should get sealants?
Children and teenagers are usually good candidates for sealants because of the likelihood of developing decay in the grooves of premolars and molars. However, adults are still susceptible to tooth decay, or they may have fillings in their molars that could benefit from sealants.
When you visit Dublin Dental Center, there is no need to visit a separate Colorado Springs children’s dentist for sealants. Dr. Pool is a family dentist who has extensive experience with children. In keeping with her preventative treatment plan, Dr. Pool will typically recommend sealants on permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. This way, the sealants can protect these important teeth right through the cavity-prone ages of 6 to 14.
Sealants on baby teeth?
In many cases, dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth. This occurs when a child's baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. While they may seem insignificant, baby teeth actually play an important role in the proper spacing of permanent teeth. Accordingly, it is important to keep them these teeth healthy and strong.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants usually protect teeth from decay for about 10 years, but they should be checked periodically for chipping or wear. Dr. Pool will do this at your regular dental check-ups and replace damaged sealants as necessary.
Does insurance cover the cost of sealants?
Many insurance companies will cover the cost of sealants 100 percent. Check with your dental insurance carrier to find out if sealants are covered under your plan.