While brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of good oral hygiene (and first priority in our Top Tips for Terrific Teeth), sealants are another great tool for keeping your kids’ teeth cavity free.
What are Sealants?
Normal brushing works really well on the smooth surfaces of your teeth, but it can be difficult to brush deep into the grooves of your back teeth, or molars, especially for kids (who don’t always have the best brushing habits to begin with, right?). This is where sealants can help.
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of your molars to create a protective barrier to prevent food particles from ever getting into those grooves and therefore reducing the risk of cavities. Sealants have been shown to reduce risk of decay by as much as 80%, and according to the Centers for Disease Control “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
When Should Your Child Get Sealants?
The best answer, of course, is to ask the expert, your dentist! Each time you visit your dentist for a cleaning (twice a year! don’t forget!), we’re doing more than just cleaning your teeth and taking x-rays. We’re looking at the health and development of your whole mouth, and we’ll let you know when your child’s teeth are ready for sealants.
We usually place sealants when six-year and then twelve-year molars are fully erupted. This protects those teeth right from the start and during those cavity-prone years of 6-14 when kids are still creating good brushing habits! Sealants can last for up to 10 years, but each time you come in for a cleaning, we’ll check them for chips or wear and replace them as necessary.
Read More: Tooth Brushing is a Team Sport
Is It Expensive?
Well, they’re cheaper than fillings!
But seriously most dental insurance companies cover the cost of sealants, but of course you should check with your dental insurance carrier to see what out-of-pocket expense your might incur. Our front office staff should be able to help your with coverage questions or direct you to your specific dental carrier resource.
Our main goal is to help you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful as long as possible. Brushing and flossing are key, and regular exams and cleanings are important, too. Adding dental sealants to your cavity fighting tool belt is the next best step to keeping your kids’ smiles cavity free!