Do My Children Need Sealants?

Molar tooth before a sealant has been placed.

Our molar teeth have tiny grooves and pits on the chewing surface, that are so small they can’t even be cleaned with a toothbrush bristle. These small grooves are an easy hiding place for bacteria to gather and for a cavity to begin. Dr. Crane will often recommend sealants to fill these areas. Sealants are another line of defense against cavities, in addition to your regular brushing and flossing.

When applied correctly sealants can prevent 80% of cavities for up to 2 years and continue to prevent 50% of cavities for up to 4 years. We will use sealants to cover these small grooves and prevent the bacteria from infiltrating the enamel causing a cavity. Sealants are usually indicated in childhood, first when the six year molars erupt and then again when the 12 year molars erupt. Sealing these permanent molars soon after eruption can help ensure they stay cavity free for a longer period of time. Getting sealants is a painless and typically quick process, so long as the teeth are able to be kept dry during the procedure. Curious about the process?  These are the steps to place sealants:

  • 1st step: we will etch the teeth, this cleans and roughens the tooth surface to prepare for a sealant.
  • 2nd step: rinse & dry teeth thoroughly 
  • 3rd step: apply sealant material and spread evenly through each of the pits and grooves
  • 4th step: Use a UV light to cure (harden) for 30 seconds
  • Done! That’s it, quick and pain free!
Molar tooth after a sealant has been placed. Grooves are filled in.

Most insurance companies will usually cover sealants up to a certain age limit. We can help you determine if your child has sealant coverage. Sealants will typically last for several years before they may need to be reapplied. As they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Sealants, even without insurance coverage, are typically still cheaper than the patient portion for a filling if decay begins. 

At your regular dental check up, Dr. Crane will evaluate if sealants are recommended! As always, let us know if you have any questions regarding the sealants process or if there is any insurance coverage. 

References

Mouth Healthy by ADA
https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sealants

CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/dental_sealant_program/sealants-FAQ.htm

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