The benefits of sealants for children and adults!

Sealants are extra protection for your teeth. Your mouth’s natural cleanser, saliva, rinses away bacteria and keeps the smooth surfaces of teeth fairly clean. Fluoride is also most beneficial on the smooth surfaces of teeth. But what about the teeth with grooves, pits, or fissures, such as molars? Luckily, a valuable innovation, dental sealants, was developed to protect these teeth.

What are sealants?

A sealant is a thin clear or tooth-color plastic coating that creates a barrier between the teeth and harmful bacteria that generate acid and plaque.

How are sealants applied?

To apply the sealant, the teeth to treated are carefully cleaned, conditioned with an etching gel to improve the seal, rinsed and dried. The sealant is then “painted” over the chewing surfaces of the teeth. A curing light is used to help the sealant harden. Sealant treatment generally takes 30 minutes and is painless.

When are sealants placed?

The optimum timing for sealants is when the first and second permanent molars erupt, which occurs at around 6 and 12 years old. The timing also reflects the child’s cavity prone years, so sealants should be applied to the teeth shortly after they erupt, before decay can set in. Third molars come in around age 18 and if not removed, should be treated as well. Teeth with decay or fillings are not candidates.

What about for adults?

Adults that do not have decay or fillings on their molars are eligible for sealants. Most insurances do not cover sealants past a certain age. We suggest sealants for the molars that do not have decay or fillings for that extra protection to adult patients. Winning Smiles does offer sealants at a discounted rate for our adult patients, knowing that it is unlikely a covered service.

Care of sealants.

Sealants can last up to 10 years with proper care, which includes brushing and flossing. Sealants are not a replacement for fluoride and good oral hygiene; in fact, they work together to prevent cavities. It is important to avoid hard and sticky foods that may damage the sealant. Sealants should be checked at every dental visit, as a damaged sealant will need to be repaired or replaced. Worn sealants should be updated as needed to maintain a lifetime of protection.

Cost of sealants.

Sealants are quite affordable, especially compared to the cost of treating a cavity. Most dental insurance companies provide coverage for sealants but may have limitations on the types of teeth treated or the timing of the application/age of the patient.