The chewing surface on all molars and pre-molars for both children and adults contain deep grooves called pits & fissures that help grind your food when you chew. Regular brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth but toothbrush bristles cannot reach deep enough to adequately remove the bacteria. Sealants protect these areas in between professional cleanings.
Aren’t sealants just for kids?
Sealants are generally recommended early in life to protect children’s pre-molars and molars. The chewing surfaces of our teeth are most susceptible to cavities due to deep pits and grooves however adults can also benefit from sealants for the very same reason. Surveys show that the majority of cavities are caused by food particles and bacteria that have not been removed adequately through normal brushing Research has shown that 95% of us have a chance of experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of our teeth at some time in our life. Sealants protect our teeth by ‘sealing out’ plaque and food and are recommended as a preventive step for children as well as any adult who is at high risk for cavities. During your next visit ask your dentist about how sealants can help you.
How are sealants applied?
Application of sealants is easy and only takes a few minutes. A dental sealant is a thin plastic film that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities. Your dental professional will clean the tooth of all existing bacteria and decay and then rough up the chewing surface with a solution that helps the sealant stick to the tooth. Once the dentist ‘paints’ the sealant on, it bonds to the tooth and hardens with the help of a special curing light. Sealant treatment is painless and does not require any anesthesia.
How effective are sealants?
Studies have proven that properly applied sealants are 100% effective in protecting the tooth surface from cavities. As long as the sealant remains intact, small food particles and bacteria that cause cavities cannot penetrate through or around the sealant. Sealant protection is reduced or lost when part, or all, of the bond between the tooth and sealant is broken. Your dental professional will examine your sealants during your regular cleaning visits to determine if they are still protecting you adequately and recommend replacement as needed.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants could break or come off when chewing on hard or sticky foods such as candy, ice, gum, etc. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. The risk of decay decreases significantly after a sealant is applied. During your regular dental visits your dentist will check the condition of your sealants and recommend reapplication when necessary.
Are sealants covered by insurance?
Insurance benefits for sealants are pre-determined by the limits of the policy that has been purchased for you. Companies are starting to recognize that sealants are a proven preventive technique and making them available more often. Sealants can help reduce future dental expenses and protect teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment. Our staff will be happy to check with your insurance policy on sealant coverage.