Sometimes, teeth need more protection than regular oral hygiene practices and professional fluoride treatments. In these cases, Dr. Mabry may recommend that you receive dental sealants. These thin plastic coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars in order to protect them from tooth decay. Most children and teenagers are especially prone to tooth decay in these areas. The sealants protect the teeth by preventing food particles from between teeth and into the tooth grooves. This lessens the chance of cavities and tooth decay.
Which teeth benefit the most from dental sealants?
In general, the back teeth, or molars, are the teeth that will benefit the most from dental sealants. Molars usually appear around age six, with a secondary set erupting around age 12. The dental sealants should be applied soon after this in order to maximize their benefit.
How are dental sealants applied to the teeth?
Dental sealants are applied in a single visit. The teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. Once the teeth are dry, a dental gel will be applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars for several seconds, and the teeth will again be rinsed and dried. The dental sealant will then be painted onto the chewing surfaces of the molars. A special curing light will then be used to harden the sealant.
Are dental sealants visible?
The plastic used for dental sealants is either clear or tooth-colored and should not be easily visible when your child talks or smiles.
Will dental sealants make my child’s teeth feel different?
Your child may notice a slight difference right after the sealants are applied, but this sensation should fade quickly. After the first day or so, your child shouldn’t even notice the difference. Dental sealants are very thin and settle into the grooves of the back teeth; they will not affect your child’s ability to chew or speak clearly.
Are dental sealants an alternative to fluoride treatments?
Professional fluoride treatments should continue to be used even if your child has received dental sealants. These two dental treatments are designed to work together in order to protect your child’s teeth as completely as possible against the effects of tooth decay.
How do dental sealants fit into preventive dentistry care?
Dental sealants are intended to be apart of every child’s complete preventive dentistry program. This includes treatments such as professional fluoride treatments, brushing twice per day, flossing once per day, and making appropriate food choices.
What if my child’s tooth already has a cavity?
If the cavity is still mild, you may avoid having to have your child’s cavity filled by having a dental sealant applied. Dental sealants can prevent tooth decay from further damaging the tooth. It will also prevent food particles from entering the cavity, making it worse and causing your child pain.
How long do dental sealants last?
When cared for properly, dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. They will need to be checked regularly by Dr. Mabry to ensure they have not become damaged or chipped. If damage has occurred, the sealant will be repaired by applying an additional amount of the material to the damaged section.
Will my insurance cover dental sealants?
Dental sealants are an essential part of preventive dental care, and many insurance plans will cover them. Even if your insurance plan does not cover sealants, they are a relatively inexpensive treatment that could prevent the need for far more expensive dental treatments later on.