Sealants

What are sealants?
Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.

How do sealants work?
Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult sometimes impossible- to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these crevices, placing your child in danger of tooth decay. Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay.

How long do sealants last?
Research shows that sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. Therefore, your child will be protected throughout the most cavity-prone years. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects like ice cubes, sealants will last longer. Your pediatric dentist will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.

What is the treatment like?
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. The tooth is first cleaned. It is then conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden or hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.

How much does it cost?
The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay protection it offers your child. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth limitations. Check with your benefits provider about your child’s coverage and talk to your pediatric dentist about the exact cost of sealants for your child.

Which teeth should be sealed?
The natural flow of saliva usually keeps the smooth surfaces of teeth clean but does not wash out the grooves and fissures. So the teeth most at risk of decay and therefore, most in need of sealants are the six-year and twelve-year molars. Many times the permanent premolars and primary molars will also benefit from sealant coverage. Any tooth, however, with grooves or pits may benefit from the protection of sealants. Talk to your pediatric dentist, as each child’s situation is unique.

If my child has sealants, are brushing and flossing still important?
Absolutely! Sealants are only one step in the plan to keep your child cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, balanced nutrition, limited snacking, and regular dental visits are still essential to a bright, healthy smile.

Content courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

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“My children have both been dental patients of Dr. Cobb for several years now. When my daughter first started going to Dr. Cobb, she had been through a couple other dental experiences that were challenging and frightening for her. She was young, fearful and very apprehensive about the dentist. Unfortunately, she was in need of fairly significant dental work. When we found Dr. Cobb, we were pleased from the moment we entered his office. His office staff are all friendly and caring with exceptional customer service. Dr. Cobb was incredible in his approach with my very timid, fearful young child. He made her feel at ease and comfortable instantly. His kind and gentle approach was very reassuring to both my child and me, as a worried parent. She underwent a dental procedure which required general anethesia and it went very well. Dr. Cobb has always gone above and beyond to check in with us personally after even minor procedures. As my son began seeing Dr. Cobb, he has also had exceptional experiences each time he visits the office. We have also been very pleased with the phenomenal dental hygienists that have been involved with my children’s dental care. Overall, our impression of the clinic and Dr. Cobb is nothing less than AMAZING. Thank you for being dedicated, compassionate folks!!”

The Higgins Family October 20, 2014