Benefits of dental sealants

Exploring the Benefits of Dental Sealants for kids and adults

Dental sealants are invisible shields, composed of plastic or resin material that are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth to seal off crevices and fissures, providing an extra layer of protection against bacteria that cause cavities. 

In this article, we delve into the benefits they have to offer for kids and adults alike.

The Role of Prevention

Cavities, the most common dental problem in kids and adults, arise from a complex interplay of factors, including bacterial activity, dietary habits, and oral hygiene practices. 

When bacteria feast on leftover food particles, they produce acids that erode tooth enamel, causing tooth decay

While diligent brushing and flossing can help remove plaque and debris from smooth surfaces, the grooves and pits of molars and premolars pose a greater challenge, providing ideal hiding spots for bacteria to flourish.

How Dental Sealants Work

They are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth, where they flow into the nooks and crannies of pits and fissures, creating a smooth, protective barrier. 

By sealing off these vulnerable areas, they effectively block out bacteria and food particles, reducing the risk of cavity formation and preserving the integrity of tooth enamel.

Moreover, dental sealants are painless, non-invasive, and cost-effective, making them an accessible option for individuals of all ages seeking to fortify their teeth.

Benefits for Kids

When it comes to kids, dental sealants offer a golden opportunity to intervene early in the battle against tooth decay. 

As primary (baby) teeth emerge and permanent teeth erupt, using sealants can provide a crucial layer of protection during these years of development. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of cavities in permanent molars by up to 80% in the first two years after placement and continue to be effective for up to nine years. 

By shielding vulnerable teeth during this critical period, they pave the way for a lifetime of oral wellness, setting the stage for healthy habits and positive outcomes.

Can Adults Use Dental Sealants Too?

While dental sealants are often associated with pediatric dentistry, their benefits extend far beyond childhood. 

Adults can also take advantage of this preventive measure, particularly for teeth with deep grooves and fissures that are prone to decay. 

Whether applied to newly erupted molars or as a proactive measure to safeguard existing teeth, dental sealants offer a simple yet effective means of fortifying tooth enamel structure and preventing the need for more extensive dental treatments down the line.

Preserving Oral Health: The Cost-Effectiveness of Sealants

In addition to their clinical efficacy, sealants offer a compelling case for cost-effectiveness. 

Compared to the expense and discomfort of treating cavities and undergoing restorative procedures like fillings and crowns, the upfront investment in dental sealants pales in comparison. 

Studies have shown that the cost of applying sealants is significantly lower than the cost of treating cavities, making them a wise investment in long-term oral health and financial well-being.

By preventing cavities and preserving natural tooth structure, sealants support oral function, comfort, and aesthetics, enhancing quality of life and self-confidence. 

Moreover, the reduction in cavity risk afforded by dental sealants may have ripple effects on systemic health, mitigating the potential for complications associated with untreated tooth decay, such as infections and inflammation.

Their benefits are undeniable, by fortifying the tooth enamel with these invisible shields, we empower ourselves to embrace life with confidence, knowing that our smiles are protected against the ravages of decay.

Dental sealants cost

On average, sealants cost from 30$ to 60$ per tooth. They are considered a preventive treatment so most insurance companies will cover a portion or the full cost of getting dental sealants.  

Frequent Q&A

What are dental sealants made of?

Dental sealants are made of glass ionomer or resin materials, similar to those used in dental fillings.

Are dental sealants safe for my child?

Yes, they have been around for years and have shown to be safe for kids, they are non-invasive treatments without secondary effects.

Can dental sealants be removed?

Yes, in cases deemed necessary, the dentist can carefully remove the sealant layer from the tooth’s surface using special dental instruments. 

Does insurance cover dental sealants?

Yes, they are considered a preventive treatment, and therefore, they are partially or even completely covered by insurance, depending on your company. 

Are sealants necessary for adults?

While not “necessary” they are highly beneficial for adults since they shield tooth enamel against bacteria making your teeth less prone to developing tooth decay. 

Are sealants the same as fillings?

They are made of similar materials but they are not the same, dental fillings restore the shape of a damaged tooth, while sealants are painted over the surface of teeth, creating a protective barrier against bacteria and acidic attacks.

Are dental sealants painful?

No, they are painless and chances are, you won’t feel anything at all while your dentist applies it to your teeth since it is a non-invasive treatment that simply consists of painting a layer of sealant over the surface of your teeth. 

Can sealants be placed over fillings?

It is possible if your fillings are new and are in an excellent state, but you should never get sealants over an old filling since they could be starting to wear off, and applying a sealant on top of it could trap bacteria between the sealant and the tooth’s surface, causing long term damage.

How long can dental sealants last?

While they are more effective during the first two years after application, they still protect for around 9 years after being applied on the teeth’s surface.