Christopher and Anne Thompson, DDS: Sealants
One of our favorite aspects of dentistry is getting to work with families and establish long relationships that help encourage great oral health. One of the family dentistry treatments we provide often at our Turlock dental practice is applying sealants to children's teeth.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, recommends that children get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as they emerge. Most children will get their first permanent molars between the ages of 5 and 7. The second set of molars typically show up between ages 11 and 14. Depending on specific conditions within your child's mouth, we may also recommend other teeth be sealed.
Additionally, some teenager and adults will also benefit from sealants. If you are prone to cavities or have had problems with your molars in the past, consider asking us if we would recommend sealants for you.
What Is a Sealant?
Basically, sealants are a very thin plastic coating that gets painted on the surfaces of teeth. They are typically applied to chewing surfaces of the back teeth and are used to prevent decay on the natural tooth grooves, also called fissures. Tooth fissures can be hard to clean and a toothbrush may not be quite enough to prevent decay. Dental sealants are used to create a smooth, easy to clean surface and add an extra layer of protection.
How Are Sealants Applied?
This family dentistry treatment is usually applied in five simple steps:
- Teeth that are to be sealed are cleaned.
- The teeth are dried and cotton is applied to keep the area dry.
- A solution is applied to the teeth that need sealed to make the it easier for the film to stick to the surface.
- The tooth is rinsed and dried and the cotton is replaced.
- The sealant is applied as a liquid and hardens in just a few seconds.
Sealants will last a patient years, on average about a decade, but they do need to be regularly checked for normal wear and chips during dental visits.
Does My Insurance Cover Sealants?
Many dental insurance companies actively try to reduce health care costs, which makes covering dental sealants a smart move on their part. According to Delta Dental, the largest dental plan system in the U.S., sealants can prevent 60-70% of cavities in children's teeth. Sealants are a great way to prevent decay and, thus, prevent insurance companies from having to pay for more expensive procedures. As a result, many dental insurance providers do cover sealants. Please contact us if you have questions about your insurance or financial options for sealants.