Kids grow up fast and before you know it they’re losing baby teeth and erupting adult teeth. And while we hope your child is practicing healthy habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time, and flossing once a day, we also know that tiny mouths can take a lot of work to keep healthy and happy. That’s where dental sealants come in!
Around your child’s sixth birthday, they’ll get their first molars, all the way in the back of their mouths, and they can be a little tricky to clean. Kids just don’t have the same dexterity that adults do in maneuvering their toothbrushes, so it can be difficult for them to successfully clean every nook and cranny of their new teeth. Luckily, dental sealants can help protect your child’s new teeth.
What is a sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin, protective coating that your dentist adheres to the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. They act as a safety net for keeping cavity-causing bacteria out of the hard to reach places in your child’s mouth.
In fact, the ADA reports that people with sealants on their molars reduce their risk of tooth decay by 80%. That’s huge! Still, not many children have sealants protecting their teeth. A report released by the CDC in Oct. 2016 showed that only 43% of children aged 6-11 have sealants, and school-aged children without sealants have three times more cavities than their peers who do.
No need to be nervous, sealants are painless!
While trips to the dentist can make anyone nervous, getting dental sealants is a painless procedure and not something worth fretting over. There is no numbing involved because sealants are only applied on the tooth’s surface.
The process of applying sealants is relatively simple. First, the tooth (or teeth) that is being sealed is cleaned and dried thoroughly. We wouldn’t want to trap any icky bacteria under it, after all! Then, an etching solution is applied to help the liquid sealant stick to the tooth. Next, the tooth is dried again and the sealant is brushed onto the tooth in liquid form and, with the help of a special curing light, hardens in about a minute. That’s it! Easy, right?
Afterwards, you might notice it for a few days as you would notice any changes in your mouth, but you get used to it. Running your tongue over a sealant is much smoother than a tooth without.
Another benefit, most sealants dry clear, so if there is early decay in the tooth, your dentist can still watch it to make sure the sealant is doing its job.
Who can get sealants?
Technically, anyone can get sealants, but they’re most helpful for children in protecting their first and second molars, which come in around ages six and 12. Sealing those teeth as soon as they erupt can go a long way to protecting them for years to come.
Most sealants last for several years, long enough for your child to get their good habits mastered so when they do wear off, they’re brushing and flossing well enough to keep their teeth in a healthy condition.
How do I pay for sealants?
Luckily, most major dental insurances pay for all or a portion of sealants under preventative care benefits. However, coverage on these plans typically have an age limit that corresponds to a child getting their second molars, so it’s a good idea to check your unique policy to verify your coverage parameters.
If you don’t have dental insurance, don’t worry! Dental Depot always accepts self-pay patients and we strive to make treatment affordable. If you’d like to make an appointment for yourself or your child to get sealants, don’t hesitate to give us a call or request an appointment online.