Dental sealants can be one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities. Sealants are made of plastic, and most often applied to your back teeth, where deep grooves often harbor food and bacteria, causing decay and leading to cavities. While thorough brushing and flossing is essential in removing food particles and preventing plaque buildup on your teeth, your toothbrush may not be able to reach all the areas of your molars, leaving food and bacteria behind.
The Process for Applying Sealants
Sealants provide a quick and easy solution to “seal out” areas of your teeth that are prone to bacteria, and they are something your student dentist at The Dental Clinic at Roseman University can apply. Prior to applying sealants your dentist or dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure all bacteria and food particles are removed from the teeth. The dentist will then paint a plastic resin on to your tooth enamel, and as it dries it will bond directly to your tooth. The resin will fill in the deep grooves and fissures on your back teeth and act as a barrier to keep future food and bacteria out.
As long as your sealant remains in place, it will continue to protect your tooth from decay. Generally speaking, sealants are able to hold up to the normal wear and tear they might experience in your mouth, including chewing, talking, and drinking, for about 10 years. If one of your sealants does come off it can easily be reapplied. Your student dentist can examine existing sealants to let you know if any are in need of reapplication.
When to Get Sealants
The best time to apply dental sealants is when you are young, since children and teenagers are the most likely to develop decay in the grooves and fissures of their molars. When you visit The Dental Clinic at Roseman University, our student dentists may recommend this procedure for children and teens whose permanent molars have grown in (between the ages of 5 and 12).
Adults who are prone to decay or cavities and either have never had sealants or no longer have them may also be candidates for the procedure. Sealants can only be applied to teeth that have no decay and no fillings. Younger children who still have primary teeth may also get sealants in cases where teeth are particularly prone to decay, or if their molars have deep grooves or depressions. Maintaining healthy baby teeth is important for speech development and correct spacing of permanent teeth, so sealants can ensure your child doesn’t lose his or her baby teeth too soon.
Costs and Insurance
Most private dental insurance policies will cover the cost of placing sealants, but it’s a good idea to call your insurance provider in advance if you have questions. Medicaid or children’s dental insurance programs may also pay for sealants. Even if you have no insurance, The Dental Clinic at Roseman University offers affordable rates for dental sealants.