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If your child is especially prone to cavities or has deep grooves in their molar teeth, you may want to consider sealants. Getting sealants is an easy procedure where the tooth’s biting surface (occlusal surface) is filled with a special type of material to prevent dental decay. It’s a painless and quick procedure that doesn’t involve drilling into the teeth.
Who Gets Sealants?
This procedure is usually done on a child’s permanent molar teeth once they’ve fully erupted to prevent bacteria and food particles from getting into the deep parts of the tooth. It’s a great choice for kids who are more cavity-prone or kids who have had one or more cavities in their past. However, all children can benefit from the placement of sealants because of their proven benefit in reducing dental decay. We are always for anything that reduces dental decay!
What is a Dental Sealant?
Sealants are used by dentists worldwide as a preventive measure against the decay of teeth (dental caries). It’s made of a thin, resin-based plastic coating that is placed on the most vulnerable teeth, such as permanent molars. It’s placed on the tooth surface to fill in cracks and crevasses that are often hard to keep clean. These deep valleys of the teeth allow bacteria and dental decay to hide which can lead to cavities and deterioration of the tooth’s enamel. Sealants on the permanent teeth protective shield net to reduce the hard-to-reach areas to brush and keep clean.
Sealants dental benefit is a reduced 60% risk of cavities!
Dental Sealant Procedure on Children
Having this protective coating painted on the teeth is quick and painless. At Hale Family Dentistry, we can do sealants on teeth during their cleaning or at a separate appointment, depending on your schedule. The dentist doesn’t even have to use anesthesia for the procedure. Sealants on permanent teeth take about fifteen minutes. Dr. Hale will dry the tooth with cotton, place the liquid sealant material on the tooth, and use a special curing light to harden it. He will do this on each permanent molar, upper and lower, which are most at risk of cavities and decayed teeth.
Two Types of Sealant Material
- Resin-Based Composite
- Glass Ionomer Sealants
Both can be applied to the surfaces of teeth to reduce caries in children. As a preventive tool, dentists continuously see better oral hygiene overall in children with sealants placed.
Are Dental Sealants Covered by Insurance?
Most insurances cover sealants on teeth for children under the age of 18 years old because of the evidence of reduced cavities. Sealants can also release fluorides for an extended period of time which also helps prevent unwanted bacteria growth. Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists highly recommend the placement of dental sealants. Clinic studies and research have seen great success in this procedure for little ones. So much so that there are sponsored school-based programs that use mobile dentistry that provides this procedure to children during school at no cost. Hale Family Dentistry often sees insurance cover dental sealants at 100% under a preventative category.
Controversy in Dental Sealants
A controversy around dental sealants exists around what material is best to use and the application of it, however, Dr. Jonathan Hale believes that both resin-based composite sealants and glass ionomer sealants have a place in dentistry depending on the patient’s unique situation. It’s always best to discuss questions and concerns about oral health with your dentist.
Are Dental Sealants Toxic?
Sealants are non-toxic and safe for children and adults. All dental materials used at the offices of Dr. Jonathan Hale are tested and approved for use in dental office settings and are not detrimental to your health.
Sealants for preventing dental caries in primary teeth.
(Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Feb 11;2(2):CD012981)
Children with poor oral health are 3x more likely to miss school due to dental pain. Source: https://www.cdhp.org/resources/314-dental-sealants-proven-to-prevent-tooth-decay
Cavity Prevention with Sealants
Many dentists recommend sealants for children as well as adults. Sealants are an easy way to keep your teeth healthy and protect baby teeth from decay. If you are interested in learning more about the types of sealants and how these can help you improve your or your child’s dental health, give us a call or discuss this with your dentist.