What Are Sealants and When Should My Child Get Them?

Lufkin SmilesUncategorized

young patient brushing his teeth after getting dental bonding

Have you ever heard of children’s dental sealants and wondered what they were or what they did?

They are usually covered by dental insurance at 100%, but if you have to pay for them out of pocket, they are not expensive. A single sealant could cost as little as $20-$50 on average.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Lufkin dental sealants are preventative, protective barriers that protect teeth from decay. They’re made of a resin that’s almost plastic-like and coats the outermost layer of tooth enamel on a tooth’s chewing surface. The thin layer of material is placed in deep crevices or pits on teeth to make cleaning them with a toothbrush easier. As a result, less food debris and bacteria remain on the tooth to cause cavities.

It’s important to remember that sealants are only semi-permanent and are more of a temporary protective layer. The ultimate goal is to apply a sealant to a child’s tooth so that they can enter adulthood with a cavity-free smile. Excellent oral hygiene and regular dental preventive care are still considered necessary.

When Your Child Should Get Dental Sealants

In general, Dr. Celeste A. Mensah does not recommend sealing baby teeth. Despite the importance of your child’s first teeth, the grooves are usually quite shallow.

Permanent teeth have deep grooves, making them a top priority to protect. Permanent adult molars are ideal for sealants as soon as they erupt. Because you can’t seal teeth that are already weakened by cavities, it’s best to seal them when they’re new and healthy. Adult molars erupt around ages 6 and 12, respectively, so these are the timeframes when most sealants are applied. However, there is no upper age limit. Adults can have their teeth sealed as well, as long as their teeth are still cavity-free.

Benefits of Dental Sealants

● Sealants make brushing more efficient
● Bacteria and acids are prevented from settling in the deep, narrow grooves of children’s teeth
● Reduces the likelihood of developing cavities in later childhood
● Fast and easy application
● Protection begins immediately

Cleaning molar chewing surfaces can be difficult, if not impossible. Tight spots can be so small that toothbrush bristles don’t even fit into them, and they can cause problem areas that go unnoticed until it’s too late. Sealants can help prevent demineralization and active cavities caused by these tiny spots.

Dental Sealant Application

Dental sealants are typically applied in our Lufkin office and are simple and painless. In fact, children’s dental sealants are typically applied during a routine cleaning as they generally only take a few minutes to place.

To ensure the sealant forms a complete bond, your child’s teeth will be dried and gently prepped with a gentle etching material. The hygienist will then apply the sealant and finish the curing process with a UV light.

In just a few minutes, your child’s teeth will benefit from long-lasting sealants.

Schedule Your Child’s Appointment

Sealants are an excellent way to reduce your child’s risk of cavities and help them maintain a healthy smile. Contact Lufkin Kids Dentistry to schedule a sealant appointment and determine your child’s eligibility. We are currently accepting new patients, and our pediatric staff is eager to ensure that your child’s smile will last a lifetime.