Dental sealant is a thin coating of plastic adhered to the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent decay. It forms a protective shield over the enamel and prevents food particles and plaque from settling into all the vulnerable nooks and crannies of your back teeth.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Anyone without decay or fillings in their molars can benefit from sealants. Children and teenagers are ideal candidates, as protecting their teeth is a good investment in their future smile. We consider this procedure a part of a child’s total preventative dental care, which should also include:
- Twice-daily brushing
- Wise nutritional choices
- Regular dental care.
When Should Sealants Be Applied?
We recommend sealing permanent molars and premolars as soon as they grow in, since cavity-prone years are ages 6 to 14. Since decay damages teeth permanently, sealing teeth is better than waiting for the decay and filling the cavity. Fillings aren’t permanent, so each time the tooth is filled throughout one’s life, more drilling is required and the tooth becomes even weaker.
The Step-by-Step Procedure
It’s simple, quick, and painless! It literally only takes a few minutes to apply sealant to each tooth. No drilling – no filing down of tooth!
- Teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried
- Cotton is placed around tooth to keep it dry
- An acid solution is applied to the chewing surfaces for a few seconds to roughen them up (to help sealant bond to teeth)
- Sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel
- Sealant bonds to the tooth and hardens
- A curing light may be used to help the hardening process.
Sealants are clear, white, or slightly tinted. They can only be seen up close and are typically not seen when you are talking or smiling.
Sealants can last up to 10 years, but they do wear over time. Have your dentist check your seals regularly for chipping or wearing. They can be replaced as necessary.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of sealants. Check with your company to see if they will cover yours. Investing in your future smile is a wise choice! We have financing options for those without insurance or who need to supplement partial insurance coverage.