The Importance of Sealants

Has your dentist talked to you about using sealants to protect your child’s smile? We often recommend dental sealants as a proactive measure to protect your child’s smile, but many parents aren’t familiar with the process. We know that oral hygiene can be confusing and even overwhelming for parents, no matter how well they prioritize it, but we’re here to provide you with all the information you need to create the foundation for your child’s healthy and happy smile!

Sealants are one of the most common recommendations we make for patients because they are easy to apply, last for a long time, and protect your child’s adult teeth from tooth decay. Still, we regularly field questions regarding sealants, why they’re important, and whether they should be a cause of concern for parents. So, let’s answer a handful of the most common questions we receive concerning sealants.

What Is a Dental Sealant?

A dental sealant is a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth to prevent food and plaque from getting into the crevices of the teeth. Because of their shape and size, molars are optimized for chewing food, but their cavernous texture often traps small amounts of food that feed bacteria, ultimately leading to tooth decay. The sealant will bond to molars, protecting the teeth from food that is left behind.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Sealants are extremely easy to apply, even with the most dentist-shy kids. First, we prep and clean each tooth. Next, we brush the sealant onto each tooth in a process that looks strikingly similar to painting your fingernails with nail polish. Then, we finish the process by hardening and curing the sealant with a special blue light. The whole process only takes a few minutes per tooth.

When Should My Child Get Sealants?

Typically, we will propose sealants once your child’s six-year molars have come in. We also recommend the same procedure upon the arrival of their twelve-year molars. Dentists will check the sealants during your bi-annual appointments and, if necessary, make an appointment to reapply so that your child’s teeth are continually protected.

Do You Recommend Sealants for All Children?

While we don’t recommend the procedure for every child, we suggest it for many children, particularly those at a high risk of cavities or future tooth decay. Dental sealants on permanent molars are proven to reduce the risk of cavities by 80%, a number that is difficult to ignore.  

Will My Insurance Cover Dental Sealants?

Many insurance agencies will cover the initial application, but every insurance is different. If you are interested in dental sealants for your child, we’ll work with you to find out what your best options are. Again, we don’t prescribe these for everyone, so if we recommend this procedure for your child’s smile, it’s because we believe it will benefit them greatly!

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