Original posted on www.stvparenting.com
Many dentists recommend dental sealants for child patients. In fact, I place sealants and recommend them to my patients every single day in my practice. Here’s why: sealants can help preserve your child’s smile for a lifetime. In the 10 years I have been practicing dentistry, I have seen the preventative benefit of dental sealants on many patients, both in children and adults.
However, I find that many parents are not familiar with dental sealants and what their benefits are. A dental sealant is an acrylic-like material placed as a thin covering over the chewing surfaces of a tooth and it helps shield out decay-causing bacteria. The sealant bonds to tooth surfaces and covers natural grooves in the tooth, which is where more than 75% of dental decay begins. In addition, many newer sealants contain and release fluoride to further protect teeth from decay.
How do I know when my child is ready for sealants?
Although the American Dental Association does not have a specific age for which sealants are indicated, it is usually recommended that sealants be placed when the 6-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear.
Do dental sealants hurt?
Great news! Dental sealants are painless! There are no injections and no numbing required whatsoever, as the solution is applied to each tooth and simply allowed to harden. Even better, the procedure lasts just a few minutes!
What do dental sealants cost?
More great news! If you have dental insurance, dental sealants are often covered at 80-100% by your dental policy. This means that the out-of-pocket cost is very minimal, and of course the cost of this preventative care is much less expensive than fillings or other dental treatment needed later due to dental decay. Every insurance policy differs, so review your policy carefully to best understand your individual benefits. If you do not have dental insurance, the cost for sealants is still typically quite affordable. For example, in my office, a dental sealant is $30 per tooth. Although recommendations vary per child and his/her dental history, it is typically recommended that just the back teeth are sealed.
In short, dental sealants ARE beneficial! In fact, combined with proper home care and regular dental visits, sealants are extremely effective in preventing tooth decay—and in saving time and money over a lifetime of dental visits.
Dr. Kelly B. Wettstein owns Affinity Dental at 21321 E. Ocotillo Rd #130, Queen Creek, Ariz. He has been practicing for 10 years and happily sees patients of all ages. Call 480-882-2300, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Affinity Dental website at www.AffinityDentalAZ.com.