Cavities are the biggest threat to your child’s dental health. Although they are preventable, tooth decay is more common than childhood asthma. A healthy diet, good oral hygiene habits, and regular care from a dentist can keep cavities at bay, but is there more you could be doing to protect your child’s smile? Yes! You can give them an added layer of protection with dental sealants.
What is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin clear coating made of plastic. When applied to the chewing surface of the teeth, it makes them more resistant to decay. The material creates a barrier over the enamel to keep cavity-causing bacteria out of the deep crevasses of the molars, significantly reducing the risk of decay.
Are Dental Sealants Effective?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports sealants can prevent 80% of cavities after 2 years and can stop 50% up to 4 years after being applied. When combined with other preventive steps, like brushing and flossing, your child’s smile will have maximum protection against decay.
What is the Process of Applying a Sealant?
Applying sealants is a quick, pain-free process that can be performed during routine cleanings and checkups. After the teeth have been cleaned, a weak acid is applied to the tooth. This opens the pores in the enamel to allow the coating to seep into the small holes for a strong bond. The acid is rinsed off the tooth before applying the sealant. A special dental light will be used to harden the sealant quickly.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
It isn’t unusual for sealants to last for up to 9 years, but it isn’t uncommon for one to fall off over time. Your child’s dentist will check their sealants at each preventive visit. If a sealant is compromised, they can replace it quickly.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Sealants?
Every dental insurance policy differs, but most plans include sealants for children under preventive services, which means they can be covered 100%. Your dentist will work on your behalf to maximize any applicable benefits to keep your child’s smile healthy for minimal expenses. Some dental plans also cover sealants for adults, but you’ll have to review your policy.
Are Dental Sealants Only for Children?
Dental sealants are often recommended for children because they are the most at-risk of decay; however, the threat of cavities doesn’t stop once reaching adulthood. You are never too old to benefit from the protection of dental sealants.
You can give your child everything their smile needs to stay healthy and beautiful. Ask their children’s dentist about adding the protection of dental sealants at their next cleaning and checkup.
About Dr. Patrick Pirkle
Dr. Pirkle earned his dental degree from the Nova Southeastern University Dental School and has regularly pursued additional training to provide modern services for patients of all ages. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and many other professional organizations. Contact our office today to request an appointment.