Dental sealants are like protective covers that go over the deep grooves and pits of your child’s back teeth. These rough surfaces and narrow crevices are especially cavity prone. One reason is that they’re too small for toothbrush bristles to clean, so they frequently trap bacteria.
How do Dental Sealants Work?
A dental sealant essentially covers and smooths over the natural grooves in your child’s teeth. In turn, those areas are easier to thoroughly clean with a toothbrush. There’s no risk of acids, bacteria, sugars, or plaque getting stuck down inside of the narrow fissures.
Dental Sealants Safety
Our dental sealants are safe and BPA free. Unlike restorative treatments that require numbing or reshaping the tooth, sealants are completely non-invasive. They are safe and straightforward to apply, making them a smart option for kids.
Getting dental sealants is just as simple and safe as having your teeth cleaned or receiving a fluoride treatment. Our registered dental hygienists can easily place the sealant, as no irreversible changes are made to the tooth during the process.
When to Get Dental Sealants
Most family and pediatric dentists recommend placing dental sealants as soon as the permanent first and second molars erupt through the gums. For most kids, that’s around 6 and 12 years of age, respectively. Although it can fluctuate by a year or so, depending on the child.
The goal is to place sealants before a cavity ever has the chance to develop. That’s why it’s so important to apply them as soon as those teeth “come in.”
Occasionally, sealants are also placed on non-molar teeth. Especially if your child has a history of cavities and there are deep grooves in the premolars or primary molars.
What is the Cost of Dental Sealants?
In most cases, the cost of dental sealants is covered 100% by your dental insurance, similar to checkups and cleanings. But even if you don’t have insurance, the modest investment in sealants can save you hundreds of dollars in dental work later on.
To help the sealant last as long as possible, be sure to avoid sticky foods like taffy or bubble gum. Anything too sticky can pull the sealant off of the tooth and it will need to be replaced during the next appointment.
How Dental Sealants are Placed
Depending on the timing, we can usually place your child’s dental sealants during their regular checkup. Otherwise, we’ll have them come back for a short visit to place the sealants at a later date (especially if the molars need a couple more months to erupt.)
During the sealant appointment, we make your child comfortable and give them a small prop to bite on. Then we use special absorbent pads next to the tooth to keep their enamel dry. Next, a special “soap” is used to condition the tooth, rinsed off, and the tooth is dried. At that point, the sealant material is applied to the grooves and light cures it in place.
It only takes a few minutes to place the sealant. Remember, sealants go over healthy teeth, not inside of them like fillings in a cavity. Your child might notice that it feels a little different when they bite down, but in a day or two, they’ll feel back to normal.
Why Don’t We Usually Seal Baby Teeth?
Protective sealants are best for permanent teeth that are further back in the mouth (and harder to clean.) Whereas primary (baby) molars usually tend to have a much shallower chewing surface, without the deep grooves or pits that attract plaque. Occasionally there are exceptions, but the point of sealant permanent molars is to help your child get through their middle school and teen years as they develop good oral hygiene habits.
Dental Sealants in Brighton
For pediatric sealants near you, turn to Kids City Dental. Here you’ll find comprehensive, upbeat dentistry that helps kids enjoy their dental experience. If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in Brighton, the general dentists at Kids City Dental specifically focus on oral health care for children of all ages. Call now to request an appointment!