Dental Sealants

What are sealants and why are they placed?

Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.

Who should get sealants?

Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in, usually between the ages of 6 to 14.  In this way, the sealants can protect the teeth before cavities have a chance to develop.  

Because of the likelihood of developing decay the premolars and molars at all ages, adults without fillings or decay on these surfaces of their back teeth, as well as children and teenagers, will all benefit from sealants.   Baby teeth may also need dental sealants if these teeth are found to have particularly deep depressions and grooves.  Because baby teeth play such an important role in holding the correct spacing for permanent teeth, it’s important to keep these teeth healthy so they are not lost too early.

Does insurance cover the cost of sealants?

Many insurance companies cover some or all of the cost of sealants.  It has become widely accepted to place sealants on the very back (molar) teeth in children as soon as they erupt.   Therefore, most insurance companies cover this cost.  However, it is equally important for the premolar teeth to be sealed, as well as for adults to have all their back teeth sealed, and yet it is not as often covered by insurance companies.  This discrepancy is unfounded and very unfortunate, but should not deter us from making the best decisions for our teeth.  Dental sealants are very affordable and can be done a few at a time or all at once.

How are sealants applied?

Applying sealant is a simple and painless process.  No numbing or drilling is necessary.  The sealant material is simply “painted” on to the grooves of a clean dry tooth and then hardens by shining a special light.  It only takes a few minutes to apply the sealant to seal each tooth.

Credits:  This information was taken from  WebMD Medical Reference    **Please note, nothing, including dental sealants can guarantee against cavities.  Many other factors play a role in that process, most importantly individual oral hygiene.