The American Dental Association advocates that dental sealants reduce the risk of tooth decay by 80%. With proper care, dental sealants can prevent cavities for a lifetime.
We recommend dental sealants for children as soon as all their teeth have come in (as early as 3 years old). Providing this protection against tooth decay early helps ensure children have the healthy mouths possible through some of the more cavity-prone years (2-14 years old).
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a proactive measure to prevent cavities. Sealants are usually white or clear.
Dental sealants are painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The dentist then uses a special light to harden the painted mixture. The hardening process usually takes about 20 seconds per area.
Once the sealant has hardened, they act as a barrier for your child’s teeth. Sealants are not noticeable when the child smiles or talks.
The process is simple, painless, and quick. Even better, no special appointment is needed! Dental sealants can be applied during a regular bi-yearly cleaning appointment.
When are dental sealants applied?
Dental sealants can be applied as early as 3 year olds and as late as 15 years old. Dental sealants can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth.
When your child receives dental sealants, we are sure to check them at each check-up. You can think of dental sealants like 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 in the dental sealants at a check-up, we can easily replace or repair them to ensure that your child’s sealants last a lifetime. It’s important to make sure that your child stays away from sticky and gummy foods. Those foods can pull the sealants away from the tooth and cause them to fracture and leak. Once a sealant is leaking it no longer is protecting your child’s tooth and actually encourages cavities!
Are dental sealants covered by insurance?
Yes! Generally, most insurance plans will cover dental sealants up to a certain age. Often the age cutoff is 18, but our staff can help you check into your dental insurance to determine the specifics of what your policy will cover.
We stand behind the efficacy of sealants. We know that they work when properly cared for.
Curious about other ways to prevent tooth decay in your kids?
We recommend 10 ways to prevent cavities and avoid tooth decay:
- Avoid sugary foods and snacks.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Limit snacking to 1-2 times a day.
- Take advantage of treats that don’t contain a lot of sugar (chips, fruit, smoothies, pretzels)
- Serve sugary treats and desserts only with meals.
- Serve cheese!
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste and rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash.
- Use the proper sized toothbrush for your child – you may be missing areas because the brush is too large.
- Flossing, flossing, FLOSSING!
- Visit the dentist regularly.
We go into more detail about each of these tips in our post “How to Prevent Cavities.” We hope you will check out that post next!
Do you live in High Point, NC and want to have dental sealants added to your child’s teeth?
At Warr Pediatric Dental Associates, we’ve been serving the High Point, NC community for decades. We’d love to help your child have the best oral health possible.
Give us a call at 336-887-9277 (WARR) to schedule an appointment! You can also contact us at the “Book Appointment” button at the top of our website.
“Dr. Joye Warr is just that (a joy) every visit! I would never take my children anywhere else.”
– Jay N.