Dental sealants in Grand Prairie
Dental sealants consist of a plastic sealing material that is used to seal the exposed or occlusal surfaces of the molars and premolars (permanent rear teeth). The dental sealants protect the teeth from damage and decay due to bacteria and food acids.
Why are sealants needed?
Brushing and flossing primarily removes plaques and food particles from the smooth surfaces of teeth but are not able to reach the inner grooves and pits. Molars and premolars usually have deep grooves and fissures which are narrower that a single toothbrush bristle. Plaques can easily accumulate in such areas and attack the enamel of teeth, leading to tooth decay. To protect such areas of teeth from accumulating dental plaques, sealants are used to block such grooves and pits and thus provides extra protection to these locations.
Who should get sealants?
Children and teenagers are more susceptible to develop tooth decay during their developing years than adults. The molars and premolars erupt between the ages of 11 to 13 and this is the time when the chewing surfaces of these teeth may be sealed with sealants. Sealants are useful to prevent development of plaques in the cavity-prone years of children, typically between the ages of 6-14.
Dental sealants may also be useful for baby teeth as baby teeth may have nooks and crannies that are prone to develop decay. Baby teeth hold the space to allow growth of permanent teeth at a later stage and hence must be protected.
Dental sealants are not only placed on molars and premolars but if needed, may also be applied on other teeth which has fissures and grooves.
The Benefits of having sealants applied to our teeth:
- More than 90% of tooth decay occurs at the premolars and molars. The rear location of these teeth in the mouth cavity makes it difficult to reach with toothbrushes. The enamel in these teeth also appear to be thinner making them more prone to develop cavities.
- Molars and premolars are primarily used for chewing and grinding food and hence have a higher tendency developing plaques than teeth in other areas.
- Saliva which contains antiseptic chemicals is unable to reach the molars and premolars and thus these teeth do not benefit from salivary flow.
- The grooves and fissures in teeth are often too narrow to be reached by toothbrush bristles.
- The bacteria present in the grooves and fissures of these teeth may spill out and spread to infect other teeth.
- Fillings may also be used instead of dental sealants but sealants are also less costlier than dental fillings.
- Fluorides act on smooth surfaces but are not effective in the nooks and crannies of back teeth.
- Sealants provide a long term protection to teeth and are deemed completely safe even for children.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Application of dental sealants is an easy and simple procedure and usually not associated with pain. The steps of application of sealants are as follows:
- First the dentist cleans each tooth that will be sealed. All visible plaques and debris are cleared from the tooth.
- Next, the teeth to be cleaned are dried with the help of cotton or other absorbent material.
- The surface of the teeth is then treated with an acidic solution which will help the sealant bond with the teeth.
- The sealant is then applied on the enamel of the tooth and within a short period of time the sealant completely bonds with the enamel and hardens. Curing light may sometimes be used to allow the sealant to harden faster.
How long does dental sealants last?
Dental sealants have been in use since the 1970’s and several scientific studies have proven their effectivity in preventing tooth decay. Once sealed, dental sealants may last up to a decade or more depending on the material of the sealant used. Regular visits to the dentist are required for inspection of the sealants and their status. If sealants in certain areas chip or wear off, the dentist may correct the flaws with sealant replacement.
Does treatment with dental sealants means teeth are completely protected against decay?
Dental sealants only protect the top surface of teeth while the other surfaces are still exposed to decay. Brushing or flossing of teeth and use of fluorides are the other useful methods to keep teeth clear of plaques. Fluorides are usually present in drinking water and fluoride toothpastes but your dentist can also prescribe fluoride tablets, mouthrinse or gels if deemed necessary. However, even though fluorides protect the smooth surfaces of teeth, are unable to protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth. This is where the role of dental sealants become significant.
Is the cost of dental sealant covered by insurance?
The cost of dental sealants is calculated on a per tooth basis and the cost is the usually the same for all types of teeth, be it baby teeth or permanent teeth.
You also must also ask your dentist regarding the policies associated with dental sealants. What if the dental sealant flakes off within a short time span after it was integrated? In such cases, your dentist may provide a free replacement within a certain period of time after the sealing procedure was performed.
Many insurance companies do cover the cost of placement of dental sealants in Grand Prairie. You need to contact your insurance company to learn about their terms and regulations regarding such dental procedures.
Often some dentists or tooth care companies organize camps where dental sealing for children are carried out for free or at a subsidized cost. You can keep track of the advertisements of such programs.
You can also enquire at your child’s school, paediatrician, state’s health department or dental board for information about such programs.
If you’re interested in discussing further about dental sealants in Grand Prairie, TX with an expert contact the team at Affordable Dentist in Grand Prairie today at 817-200-7086 or schedule a consultation for the long-term solution !