Why would anyone consider dental sealants? After all, everyone knows brushing and flossing are the leading way to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health. However, some teeth, like molars, are hard to reach. In addition, getting into every nook and cranny is difficult.
What are dental sealants?
A sealant is a thin protective coating made from plastic or other dental materials. The coating adheres to the chewing surface of back teeth, like molars. A sealant effectively delays the early stages of decay, preventing full-blown cavities. In fact, studies have shown that dental sealants reduce the risk of molar decay by nearly 80%. Children without sealants get almost 3-times more cavities than children whose teeth have been treated. Even with such remarkable statistics, only about 43% of school-age children have sealants on their teeth.
How do sealants work?
Consider sealants like little raincoats or protective shields for your teeth. They block food particles, bacteria, and acids from settling and accumulating on your teeth. It’s added protection.
The added protection is very effective for children. First molars come in around age 6 and the second set arrives around age 12. Children think they are doing a good job brushing (and maybe flossing, too). However, all parents know that can is often an illusion.
The same protection applies to adults. We might be better at brushing and flossing. But we also have trouble meeting the recommended 2-minutes of brushing, don’t we?
Do your teeth have to be cavity-free?
The best answer to that question is no. A dentist can apply a sealant over early tooth decay to prevent further damage. Some sealants are clear, and the dentist monitors the tooth during your usual exams.
To prepare for applying a sealant, we clean the teeth and then dry them thoroughly The next step is applying an acidic gel that gives the tooth a rough texture so the sealant adheres. There is a strong adhesive bond between the tooth and the sealant. The last step is that the dentist “cures” the sealant with a blue light.
After they are applied, sealants have been shown to last up to 9 years. Plus, any missing sealant is easy to replace.
Are sealants covered by insurance?
Really, only you and your insurance company can answer that question. If you do not have dental insurance, we understand and provide the Smile Savings Plan. The Plan provides for dental care throughout the year for everyone in your family.
It’s all good.
In summary, dental sealants are a good way to prevent cavities and keep teeth healthy. In addition to improved health, fewer cavities mean fewer costs as well. They are easy to apply to teeth and offer benefits for years and years. Sealants really are an effective preventative measure.
Here at Danville Family Dentistry, we are happy to answer any questions you have. We explain both the process and the results you can expect. As always, you can schedule an appointment by calling 317-745-4400. Or, if you prefer you can schedule on our website. We look forward to serving you and your family with all your dental needs.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.