DENTAL SEALANTS FOR KIDS
A dental sealant is a non-invasive protective coating a dentist can apply to a child’s chewing teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth 4 out of 5 cavities form in children and are the most important to protect.
Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent germs and food from sticking in a tooth’s grooves and making cavities.
This is a simple and quick process, and we can include it during a dental cleaning appointment if needed.
We recommend dental sealants for children as soon as all their teeth have come in. Providing this protection early helps ensure a healthy mouth through some of the more cavity-prone years (6-14).
Studies on patients from age 6 through 25 have even shown that, with proper care, dental sealants can last a lifetime.
We’ll review the condition of your child’s sealants each visit to be aware of any wear that may have occurred over time.
Dental Sealants FAQ
What’s the difference between a dental sealant and a filling?
A dental sealant is a proactive measure, something a pediatric dentist adds early on to prevent cavities. The idea behind using sealants is to avoid cavities altogether and not need fillings. A filling, of course, is material added to a tooth after a cavitity happens to help prevent further damage to the tooth.
Do dental sealants hurt?
No. The process of applying a dental sealant is straightforward and does not hurt. The dentist will use a special light to harden the dental sealants, usually in about 20 seconds per area.
What does a dental sealant look like?
Sealants are usually white or clear. Once they’ve hardened and are ready to act as a barrier for your child’s teeth they are not noticeable when the child smiles or talks.
How effective are dental sealants?
The American Dental association says that sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay by up to 80%. That’s significant protection, and with regular dental hygiene can go a long way toward keeping your child’s mouth healthy and cavity-free.
Will insurance pay for dental insurance?
Yes, generally most insurance plans will cover dental sealants up till a certain age. Often the age cutoff is 18, but you are welcome to ask our staff during your appointment to check into your policy to determine the specifics of what your insurance will cover.
When do sealants need to be reapplied?
We check your child’s sealants at each visit to our office. You can think of dental sealants like staining/sealing a deck. The material seeps down into pores and grooves, stopping water from entering. In a similar way, dental sealants conform to the shape of the teeth and prevent sugar and plaque from settling in. If there are any voids we can easily replace or repair them. To ensure that your child’s sealants last it’s important to make sure that they stay away from sticky and gummy foods.
Can sealants come off and be swallowed?
Sometimes, but your child probably wouldn’t even notice it if it happened. If sealants come off it’s painless, and if swallowed are bio-friendly and don’t cause any digestive issues. (All sealants are BPA-free.)
Generally only the dentist would notice the sealant is gone by thoroughly inspecting the tooth.
When should my child get dental sealants?
That depends on the depth of the grooves on your child’s teeth . With deeper grooves we generally add sealants earlier — as early as age 3. In other cases some children’s teeth don’t require them as early and the sealants can be added up to age 15.
Dental sealants can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth. It’s also important to note that each insurance company has different rules about putting sealants on your child’s teeth. You have to check with your insurance company to make sure that you are fully informed with what your insurance will cover.
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