Thursday, October 6, 2016

All About Dental Sealants

What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin, white, plastic coating used on the surfaces of your teeth (molars specifically) to help prevent tooth decay.  The procedure is painless and only takes a few minutes.  
How do they work?
Just how it sounds!  The sealant is applied to the molar surface which allows a light, but powerful protective coating to seal in the tiny cracks and crevices that could potentially trap food and bacteria, which could lead to tooth decay and other long-term problems.
When should I consider getting  them?
Most dentists suggest applying sealants as an extra measure in preventive care early on as your adult teeth grow in.  Because most tooth decay in teens and children are found in this area, the earlier you get them, the better.
Do all teeth need sealants?
No, just molars.  Molars are far more vulnerable to tooth decay because they are designed for chewing.  The rest of your teeth are shaped and designed for their specific purpose and sealants just simply aren’t needed.
How long do they last?
The average life of a sealant is anywhere between 5-10 years.  Over time, they can wear down or chip, at which point, they should be reapplied.
Does this mean I won’t get cavities at all?
Definitely not.   While they do offer a strong layer of protection, they are not designed to replace your daily dental maintenance.  They protect, they do not prevent.  Maintaining healthy dental habits will better allow the sealant to do what it is supposed to.
Does my regular dentist do them?
Yes, a general dentist should be able to do it, or the hygienist.  A specialist is not necessary.
Are they covered by insurance?
Because it is considered a preventive procedure, most insurances and dental plans cover sealants at 100%.  Obviously this will vary, so be sure to check with your provider beforehand. 

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