ALL ABOUT SEALANTS
Practicing good dental care is an excellent way to protect your teeth, prevent cavities, and maintain overall good health. But sometimes brushing and flossing are not enough – especially for those hard-to-reach areas in the back of your month. If left alone, tooth decay can develop and undo the hard work you’ve done to keep your mouth healthy.
However, there is a way to help protect the surfaces of your back teeth and overall health of your mouth: dental sealants.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin coating applied to teeth to give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities. It’s sometimes difficult for your toothbrush to get into the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. The plastic resin coating covers each tooth, bonding and hardening in the deep grooves on the surface, making the area smooth and less likely for plaque to develop.
Who should get sealants?
Typically, sealants are applied to children’s teeth to help prevent cavities. This is especially true for the back teeth, also known as the molars, once they grow in as they are harder to reach even with regular brushing and flossing. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 90% of cavities in school-aged children occur in the molars. Sealants can help reduce tooth decay by nearly 80% for two years, and up to 50% for up to four years. Sealants continue to protect against cavities for up to 10 years. In fact, it is common for adults to have intact sealants from their childhood.
However, it is still a good idea for adults to get sealants on healthy teeth or have their childhood sealants re-sealed. Adults are still susceptible to cavities, and sealants help prevent tooth decay before it starts as well as help minor cavities from growing. Since each patient has unique needs, recommendations are made on a case-by-case basis.
How are sealants applied?
The process of getting sealants is usually simple and painless. Here’s an overview of what will happen during your appointment:
- The teeth to be sealed are cleaned thoroughly. Each tooth is completely dried and absorbent material is placed around the tooth to keep the area dry during the process.
- An acidic solution is applied to the tooth’s chewing surface, allowing the sealant to bond better.
- The tooth is cleaned and dried again.
- The sealant is then applied to the tooth enamel, including the grooves of the tooth.
- In certain circumstances, a special light is used to help bond the sealant to the tooth.
Your dentist will check the tooth periodically for any cracks or chips in the sealant. Sealants only provide protection if they are fully intact. If your sealants need to be re-sealed, contact our office to schedule an appointment.
How much do sealants cost?
Sealants can be a good investment, however, they can also be expensive. The cost per tooth ranges from $35-60, but coverage and costs vary depending on your dental insurance plan. Some plans cover sealants for children and adults, while some will only provide coverage for children and/or certain teeth. If you’re in doubt about sealant coverage, double-check your benefits summary or contact your provider directly.
While the cost may seem like a lot, sealants can save you and your children money and dental work over the years. With the added protection that sealants provide, you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of getting cavities filled or more extensive tooth repair such as caps or crowns.
Remember that sealants do not replace daily brushing and flossing. Adding sealants will help further protect your teeth, but they are only part of maintaining a healthy mouth. Eating right, plus brushing and flossing as recommended by your dentist will keep your teeth healthy for years to come.
A healthy smile is an important aspect of your general health and well-being. At Walden Square Dental Care, our friendly doctors and staff provide family-oriented dental care in an environment that is comfortable and relaxed. Call us today at 847-223-0110 to schedule an appointment, and visit our About Us page to learn more about the entire team at Walden Square Dental.