When your dentist asks you about dental sealants, it’s normal to have questions. What are teeth sealants? Are dental sealants appropriate for me (or my kids)? Are there any concerns I should have about dental sealants? What is the cost? Does insurance typically cover teeth sealants?
Reason for Dental Sealants
Teeth sealants are a protective, thin coating applied to teeth. The covering protects teeth against the plaque, bacteria, and food that combines to cause tooth decay. After dental sealants are applied, you should still maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings.
Dental sealants are completely transparent and cannot be noticed by other people. Because they are so thin, patients cannot feel dental sealants after application.
Dentists usually recommend dental sealants on back teeth, which are hard to reach and may have pits and grooves. Typically, dentists recommend sealants for kids (usually around the age of seven) because they do not brush as well as adults. However, dental sealants can be beneficial for adults and children.
The application is fairly easy and usually only requires scheduling a dentist appointment. Sealants are applied by a dentist or hygienist after a dental cleaning and don’t take long to apply. Dentists or Hygienists painlessly paint on and cure dental sealants in the office. The coating bonds to the teeth and forms a barricade that lasts for 5-10 years.
Cost of Dental Sealants
Sealants are typically covered by dental insurance because of its preventative benefits. Patients without dental insurance can request a quote before the day of the appointment.
Teeth Sealants Pros
- Dental sealants protect teeth from decay, especially teeth with deep pits and grooves or in hard-to-reach areas.
- Teeth sealants are clear and cannot be noticed by others.
- It usually does not take very long to apply sealants. (This is very nice for younger, squirmy patients!) Your dentist can give you an idea of how long it takes when you make the appointment.
- Most dental insurance plans cover teeth sealants.
Teeth Sealants Cons
- Dental sealants don’t last forever. Typically, sealants last approximately 5-10 years. Your dentist can check the sealants to make sure they are still protecting the teeth.
- In very rare cases, teeth sealants may be applied over a cavity (though the sealant should contain the decay).
- Sealants contain minute amounts of bisphenol-A (BPA), which may concern patients.
Like most options in life, there are pros and cons. For example, the benefit of a 70% decrease in a tooth forming new tooth decay is quite impressive, while the risk of BPA exposure is minimal. Therefore, sealants are a powerful tool in preventative dental care.