Sealants – Protecting Your Child’s Teeth

Jul 11
2011

Word of Mouth
Sealants – Protecting Your Child’s Teeth
By Dr. Wade Newman D.D.S.

Keeping your child cavity free is of utmost importance to me and should be for you too. One way to help prevent cavities is through the use of pit and fissure sealants.

What are sealants?

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your children’s teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

Which teeth should be sealed?

Sealants are mostly applied to the back teeth – the baby molars and adult molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. Your dentist will tell you which teeth should be sealed after they have examined them, and checked whether the fissures are deep enough for sealants to help. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves, which will need to be sealed, others with shallow grooves may not need the procedure.

What is involved?

The process is usually quick and straightforward taking only a few minutes per tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard – usually by shining an ultraviolet light onto it.

Will my child feel it?

No, it is totally pain free, and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards.

How long do pit and fissure sealants last?

Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to be sure that no decay can start underneath them.

When should this be done?

Sealants are best applied as soon as the child is cooperative enough, usually starting about 4 years of age for the primary (baby) teeth. They can be applied to the adult molars when they start to come through usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.

How much do pit and fissure sealants cost?

The cost varies from dentist to dentist, but it is a good value. Bellefonte Family Dentistry’s fee is $47 per sealant. Some insurance carriers may cover a percentage of the cost, that percentage may vary depending which tooth is sealed (primary versus adult).

Do my children still have to clean their teeth?

Yes. It is still vital that they do this. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal brushing and flossing. Using a fluoride toothpaste will also help to protect your children’s teeth.

Whom do I ask about the treatment?

If you would like to know more about the treatment, ask your dentist or hygienist. They will tell you if pit and fissure sealing will help your children’s teeth, and when is the right time to do it.

Bellefonte Family Dentistry offers its annual Sealant special every year starting on July 15th-September 10th. During this period we offer a buy one get one promotion, and all sealants come with a 2 year limited warranty! Dr. Newman is a family dental practitioner in Bellefonte. You may contact Dr. Newman at his office: Bellefonte Family Dentistry, 115 South School St. Bellefonte PA 16823, 814-355-1587 or visit www.bellefontedental.com

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