What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin, liquid coating that hardens onto teeth to cover their high-risk, vulnerable areas. Commonly used as prevention in children and adolescents, the sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. (Particularly the large, rear teeth called molars.)
The sealant itself is a composite resin. We apply a thin layer to the treatment area and then use a special light to “cure” the material. This process hardens the sealants, securely fixing them into place.
Are sealants effective?
For children, sealants can be especially effective at reducing the risk for cavities and tooth decay. (As dutiful as parents may be about encouraging proper oral hygiene, children are often neglectful.) And, even when they do engage in brushing and flossing, young children often don’t do a thorough and complete job. Sealants address this problem by covering and protecting the surfaces where food debris accumulates and bacteria thrive.
Studies have shown that applying dental sealants can prevent 80% of cavities in children’s molars (where 9 out of 10 cavities occur). Additionally, those children aged 6-11 without dental sealants experienced almost 3 times more cavities than those who did have sealants.
For such a quick and straightforward procedure that can be done during a regular appointment, it is well worth the small extra cost! Indeed, preventing just a single occurrence of cavity or tooth decay can more than pay for the cost of sealants. Also, many dental plans cover sealants as a standard childhood treatment.
Furthermore, we all want the best for our children, so it’s essential to set them up with a solid foundation of proper oral health. It is something they will be grateful for, well into their adulthood!