The Case for Dental Sealants

Summer seems to be the time when kids come in packs to the dentist. We know it’s easier getting everyone together when you’re on the same schedule – which in summer, means no schedule! If you have younger children whose back molars have completely emerged, you’ve probably had the dentist recommend sealants for them. We’re pretty sure you’re probably wondering what they are, why they’re recommended, and how are they applied.

What are sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings made specifically for the teeth. They stick to the chewing surface of the molar and blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from settling and building up in the nooks and crannies of the molar. They are not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but they do help deter cavities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study in October of last year showing that kids (6-11) who do not have dental sealants have 3 times the cavities than kids who do have them.[1]The CDC has found that almost 50 percent of kids 2 through 11 have had or do have cavities in their baby teeth. It is actually considered an epidemic and can even lead to death.[2]Sealants ae just part of the dental arsenal to help keep your child’s teeth healthy.

How are they applied?
Luckily, this is one of the easiest dental procedures your child will ever have to go through. After your child’s teeth have been cleaned properly, the dentist will dry them. He then places an acidic gel on the surface of the teeth to help “roughen up” the surface to help the sealant crate a strong bond with the tooth. After a few seconds, the dentist rinses the gel off, dries the tooth again, and then applies the sealant into the grooves of the tooth. He then uses a special light to harden the sealant.
If you choose to have this procedure done, your child will receive another application onto the second molars when they break through around age 12.

How long do they last?
Sealants last for several years before they need a touch up or reapplication. At each check-up, the dentist will check their condition and let you know if they need to be reapplied or not.

Are they covered by dental plans?
Some plans do, some plans don’t. Contact your dental insurance company to find out more about your plan and the coverage you have.
Sealants are important and warrant serious consideration to help keep your child’s teeth and overall health in great condition. Ask your dentist more about them and if they recommend them for your child(ren).


[2]Bacteria from an abscessed tooth killed a 12 year-old from Maryland in 2007. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/02/cavities-children-teeth/5561911/