At some point in your life, you may develop dental caries. Therefore, the dentist may recommend the use of dental sealants to avoid cavities. A dental sealant is a thin material placed on the surface of premolar and molars to protect you against dental diseases. The sealants are placed on children whose premolars and molars have erupted. Additionally, they are placed in adults whose teeth have grooves and deep pits.
Dental sealants provide a long service of approximately ten years, depending on how you take care of them. The sealants are very beneficial for your teeth health. The procedure for placing dental sealants is painless, easy, and inexpensive. Moreover, dental sealants are safe to use, but you should also consider the cons and pros of the use.
Therefore, if you or your child plans to have dental sealants, you need to consider an expert dentist in handling the sealants. At Washington Dental, we provide the best services to our patients. Additionally, our dental experts have many years of experience in placing dental sealants. We serve patients across Los Angeles, Torrance, Lomita, and Carson in California. Consider our team today and have your dental problems come to an end.
What are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant involves a thin plastic layer painted on the patient's teeth's chewing surface, mainly the premolars and molars. The dental sealants bond with the tooth surface, thus filling the grooves and the depressions on the tooth's surface. The created layer helps in protecting your teeth from decay. Brushing your teeth is an excellent way of removing food particles from your teeth surface. However, dental sealants ensure extra protection in the depression and grooves where the brushing may miss. The dental sealants may last for up to nine years, depending on how you ensure dental hygiene.
Who Should Have Receive Dental Sealants Placed
Developing tooth decay due to grooves and depression on teenagers and children's molars and premolars is very common. Notably, an adult without fillings and tooth decay in their molars may benefit from the dental sealants.
Additionally, a child should have sealants on their permanent premolars and molars immediately when they come in. By doing so, the dental sealants will protect the teeth for up to fourteen years.
Sometimes, dental sealants may be applied to baby teeth, especially when the baby teeth contain grooves and deep depressions. The baby teeth are crucial in holding the appropriate space for permanent teeth; thus, it's essential to maintain healthy teeth to avoid losing them at early stages.
How Dental Sealants are Applied
Dental sealants protect your teeth against dental cavities by providing a barrier between your tooth enamel and bacteria-laden plaque. The molars and premolar have grooves and depressions, which may trap food particles. If you don't brush your teeth immediately after a meal, the food particles sticking on your teeth may result in dental disease. A dentist applies the dental sealant to protect the permanent premolars and molars immediately they arrive. The process of applying dental sealants is easy, quick, and painless. The following steps are involved in the process of applying dental sealants:
- The dentist uses a tool known as an explorer to determine the grooves on your teeth.
- A special liquid is applied to your teeth, making your teeth' surface rough for the sealant to bond with the teeth.
- The dentist will rinse and dry your teeth.
- The dental sealant is applied using a brush or protecting and sealing your teeth.
- Depending on the type of dental sealant applied, the dentist applies a special light to strengthen the teeth.
When Dentist May Recommend Dental Sealants
Dentists may recommend patients to use dental sealants. Both children and adults are allowed to use dental sealants when their teeth have signs of wear and are hard to clean, thus avoiding the risks of cavities. Sealants are helpful in long term dental care, regardless of how they have worn. Fluoride is a way of preventing tooth decay. The sealants create another layer of protection and help in avoiding expensive procedures, like fillings or crowns. Notably, the application process is easy and painless and may be carried from the dentist's chair. According to the latest research, children aged between six and eleven years without sealants are three times likely to develop cavities than children with sealants.
Types of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants fall under two groups, composite resins, and the ionomers according to their reaction strength on the patient's teeth. The two groups are discussed below.
A composite is one of the two main groups of dental sealants. The sealant is applicable with a curing light. It has a ceramic and plastic compound that blends with the color of your teeth.
The material in composite resin is strong and protects cavities for a prolonged period. Notably, the material has a high retention rate compared to glass ionomers. The material has a longevity life of five to ten years. Additionally, the material has your tooth's natural color.
Alternatively, composite resin sealant doesn't contain acid-base bonding, thus does not release fluoride. Once the sealants wear after some time, they don't protect your teeth against cavities like ionomer sealants.
Glass ionomer is the second group of dental sealants. The sealant undergoes an acid-base reaction as the dentist sets them on your teeth. Additionally, glass ionomer releases fluoride that helps strengthen patients’ tooth enamel for an extended period. The glass ionomers apply to primary teeth only.
The most advantage of glass ionomers is that it releases fluoride, making them useful by reducing the probability of dental decay by around thirty-five percent. Notably, fluoride has antibacterial characteristics that help keep the teeth healthy.
Glass ionomers may leak as time goes. However, the sealant will provide protection even after the leaking. Additionally, the fluoride may run out, but the strength and the health of the teeth increase. Moreover, the elements of glass ionomers bend with the color of the natural teeth.
The significant disadvantage of glass ionomer is, their retention rate is lower than that of composite resin.
Uses of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are very beneficial to both the children’s and adult's teeth. The following are the common uses of dental sealants to your teeth and general health:
Keeping Out Oral Bacteria
Weakened enamel may result in tooth decay or sensitivity. Even when you regularly brush your teeth, the teeth may tear and wear, and the enamel thin as you grow, exposing your teeth to decay. However, if you use dental sealants, it will fight cavities by protecting the weak enamel from any bacteria and plaque that may attack the enamel and lead to decay.
Sealants are helpful to the back teeth despite your age since cleaning molars isn't easy. Food particles may stick on the teeth surface's notches and grooves, creating a conducive place for bacteria survival. The dental sealant makes the tooth surface smooth, making it easy to brush. Therefore, the saints help discourage the survival of bacteria on your teeth.
Helpful In Protecting Your General Health
Dental sealants may contribute to your general good health. Cavities caused by tooth decay may result in medical problems that affect your body. Bacteria penetrating the bloodstream from your mouth may lead to infections and inflammation where it travels. Additionally, the dental plaque results in gum disease and increases the chances of developing heart disease, stroke and blood clots. Moreover, if you have diabetes, bacteria plaque may result in high blood sugar levels, making it harder to manage the disease. Therefore, in preventing cavities, dental sealants help prevent the damages resulting from cavities.
Providing a Protection Coat
Dental sealants provide a coating layer to your teeth. Notably, the sealant has a material that bonds quickly with the tooth surface. The application is painless and easy to undertake. It only takes a few minutes to apply the thin coating on the surface of your teeth. Since the procedure is easy, the dentist may use the sealants during regular check-ups. The protection coat keeps bacteria away as well as providing a smooth surface that ensures easy brushing.
Stops Dental Cavity From Worsening
A dentist may apply sealants on an existing cavity. Although the sealants are made for stopping cavities before they start, you may also prevent small cavities from growing worse. In the early stages, a dental cavity is not easily noticed but once left untreated, and tooth decay may occur in the tooth's inner zone, causing severe issues. The early signs of tooth decay may include a white spot and unpleasant taste. Therefore, the application of dental sealants prevents cavities from growing worse.
What You Should Expect After the Dental Sealant Procedure
After the dentist is through with the dental procedure, you may drink, eat, and do anything you desire. At first, you may feel like you are biting on something, but the feeling will disappear after several days. After some time, you won't even feel like you have the sealant on your teeth. Notably, the dental sealant doesn't last forever; however, it will last for around ten years. After the procedure, the dentist will require you to have checks to monitor how the sealant is, and if one is damaged or chipped, they will replace it. Additionally, ensure you take care of the teeth through brushing, flossing every day, and eat a healthy diet.
Cost for Dental Sealants
Like any other health problems and diseases, the services for placing dental sealants are paid. The placement of dental sealants isn't costly. The costs vary depending on various factors. The estimated cost for dental sealants ranges from thirty-seven dollars to sixty-two dollars.
What is Included in the Dental Sealant Price
The dental sealant price starts from sealing the teeth up to the sealants' replacement through regular checks. The following are the two categories of dental sealants:
Sealing of the Teeth
The cost of sealing teeth is the same regardless of the age differences. Notably, the tooth sealing cost is calculated per tooth basis irrespective of the teeth' separate sides and locations.
For example, Peter and John have molars and premolars with depressions and grooves. Peter wants his molars to be sealed. Alternatively, John wants both his molars and premolars to be sealed. Therefore John will pay more money than Peter since he has a high number of teeth to be sealed, and the costs are chargeable on a per tooth basis.
You need to have a regular check-up and repair for the dental sealants when necessary. Inquire from your dentist about their policy regarding the costs charged on repairing and replacing the deficient or lost sealants. For instance, the dentists may charge for repair and replacement within a specific time from the original replacement date. For example, Mary was covered by an insurance company within the first two years from the day of sealing the teeth. Therefore if she requires the sealants' replacement after three years, the insurance policy won't cover her sealant replacement.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Once dental sealants are applied on the surface of a tooth, they can remain on the tooth surface for a period of up to nine years safely. The way you care for the sealant is an essential element in determining the longevity of the sealants. Failure to ensure regular care, the sealants may not provide service for the required period. However, dental sealants are most effective for the first two years. Additionally, the sealants are also useful in the third and fourth year and decrease their effectiveness each year after their fourth year. Therefore you should maintain regular check-ups after the application of the sealants. The exercise is part of a semi-annual dental check-up.
What Happens If the Dental Sealant Fail
The essential, integral step in sealant placement and the reason behind sealant failures is the placement's efficacy. Eighty percent of tooth decay on a child's teeth happen in fissures and pit areas, but dental sealants have shown to be very useful as a prevention tool.
Alternatively, the success of dental sealants doesn't always go untouched. The sealants are placed in a child dry environment for the sealant to work effectively. It may be challenging for the child to keep the area free and salivary free during the procedure. Therefore, it becomes the reason that the success of dental sealants are measured by the period the sealant remains on the patient's tooth apart from decay experienced in unsealed and sealed teeth. Additionally, the fissure and the pit's ability to prevent dental issues depends on its ability to remain on the teeth.
The primary cause of sealant failure is improper placement. It may result from the dentist's lack of experience or the patient's inability to cooperate with the dental expert. After the collapse of the sealant, bacteria may leak and start interfering with the enamel. Therefore before conducting a dental sealing, you need to ensure the dentist is well equipped.
How You Should Take Care for Your Dental Sealants
If you have a sealed tooth, you need to observe good dental hygiene like the unsealed teeth. Notably, if your child has sealants, he/she should brush and floss the teeth daily and conduct regular dental expertise cleaning. The dentists recommend patients check on wear and tear on their sealants for at least ten years. When you or your child has a sealant, you will benefit from preventive treatment for reducing tooth decay by eighty percent. Preventing cavities in children is better than its cure. The cost of treatment is very cheap.
The best effective way to avoid gum disease and tooth decay is brushing and flossing your teeth daily. However, dental sealants are another effective strategy to apply to your premolars and molars. Dental sealants are inexpensive and easily applicable in just a single dental visit. Since dental sealants protect the tooth's biting surface, the teeth’ gaps and sides are susceptible to building a bacteria tartar and plaque. Therefore, ensure you brush your teeth on all sides, even the sides with the sealant. Moreover, avoid hard-bristled toothpaste and toothbrush. Brush the top and the sides the way you should do without a sealant.
You may get gum disease even when you have dental sealants. The condition may result from the tartar building up near your gum line. Therefore, to avoid the disease, brush your teeth daily to loosen the bacteria plaque and the available food particles. Another good strategy is to have teeth follow up using antiseptic mouthwash to remove the food particles on your teeth. However, don't use mouthwash to rinse away food particles around the gum line.
Does Dental Sealant Prevent all Cavities?
Although dental sealants are very effective in fighting against tooth decay in children and adults, they don't replace all oral health care forms. Your child should still brush their teeth each day using a fluoridated toothpaste. Having a balanced diet and regular dental check-up is very critical for supporting good oral health.
Benefits of Using Dental Sealants
Several benefits are arising from dental sealant treatment. Dental sealants are most common in children, but adults facing tooth decay may benefit from them as well. Children are recommended to have dental sealants on the permanent molars immediately they erupt. The following are the expected benefits arising from the treatment of dental sealants:
- Dental sealants are easy to apply, and they take a couple of minutes for the procedure to be completed.
- They help protect the grooves and depression of the teeth from particles of food.
- With the dental sealants, protection of teeth begins immediately after the treatment.
- Dental sealants are helpful to both adults and children in fighting tooth decay.
- The sealant is clear in color and thus is invisible when smiling, talking, or eating.
- The sealants are cheap and a proactive way of fighting cavities.
- The dental sealants are durable, may last for a couple of years, and reapplication is available when needed.
Does Insurance cover dental Sealants?
Most dental insurance/plans policies cover dental sealants. The insurance covers the dental sealants since the sealants are an alternative for reducing tooth decay. Notably, the insurance companies realize that it will save your money for an extended period by providing dental sealant coverage.
Common Policy Limitations
Several insurance companies have different policies on the coverage of dental sealants. For instance, if you are under the coverage of a company which cover dental sealants, the company may have the following conditions and terms:
- The policy may cover individual teeth only. Most policies cover first and second permanent molars. It's less likely for most policies to benefit primary teeth or premolars.
- The coverage for individual teeth may have limitations to a certain age. Mostly the age of sixteen is the potential cutoff.
- The policy's deductible may not or may be included. Most plans provide full benefits for the procedure even before meeting the policy's deductible.
Limitations for the frequency of sealing the tooth may be available. For instance, a plan may only seal the teeth once. Additionally, the limit may have a time interval like once every two or five years. The stipulation may result in issues when dental sealants require repair.
Find a Dental Expert Near Me
Dental sealant is a partially made procedure to fill depressions and pits, making them easier to clean. The process is straightforward, painless, and the dentist always has a supply. Protecting teeth from dental cavities is better than treating them. The use of dental sealants not only benefits children but also adults against dental cavities. The dental sealants bring a barrier which helps in keeping out bacteria causing decay.
If you have cavities on your molars or premolars, dental sealants are the solution to your dental health. Consult a dentist before the situation worsens. At Washington Dental, our dentist has many years of experience in handling dental caries. We serve patients across Los Angeles, Torrance, Lomita, and Carson in California. Call us or visit our dental offices today, and our dental expert will begin working on your teeth at an affordable cost.