Dental Sealants are plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves of teeth, on the chewing surfaces, to prevent cavities. Grooves in back teeth can be so narrow that toothbrush bristles can't get inside them to clean them properly. Guess what does? Bacteria. Bacteria that cause tooth decay. By having the plastic sealant coating placed over the teeth, we can prevent the most common cause of tooth decay in both kids and adults. Children should receive them on their permanent teeth as soon as they erupt, usually by at age 6, 12 and 17. Anyone can have a dental sealant placed provided there is no decay or fillings present.
How are Sealants applied? First the tooth is isolated with cotton rolls. The tooth is cleaned with pumice or air abrasion. The tooth is etched with a mild acid and rinsed and dried. The dental team then applies the liquid resin sealant with a brush, kind of like a nail polish brush, and covers all the grooves of the tooth. A bright LED light is shined on the tooth to harden the material. Sealants can last up to 5-10 years. Sealants are highly effective at preventing decay on the top of teeth. You will still need to brush and floss to prevent cavities from developing in-between teeth and on smooth surfaces. Most insurance companies consider the procedure to be in the preventive category, and normally cover the cost between 80-100%. There can be age limitations, so check your policy.
Cosmetic & Family Dentistry