What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a simple, easy way to help protect your child's oral health against tooth decay (cavities). Made of a thin, white, or tooth-colored material, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars), where naturally occurring pits and fissures place these teeth at a higher risk for decay. Once placed, sealants help to block bacteria, tartar, plaque, and food particles to protect the teeth and minimize the need for future restorative care, such as with fillings or dental crowns. Sealants from Advanced Dentistry of Centre County may be long-lasting if properly cared for with an effective home oral hygiene routine. Talk to our experienced general dentists at your child's dental exam visit in our State College, PA, practice to learn if cavity protection with dental sealants is a good choice for your family's needs.
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Who Is a Candidate for Dental Sealants?
The best candidates for dental sealants in State College, PA, are patients who may be at risk for developing cavities in the molar or premolar teeth. The deeper crevices that are present in the chewing surfaces of these teeth often harbor decay-causing bacteria, causing these teeth to be most at risk. In many cases, sealants are recommended for young children and teens but may also be appropriate for some adults. The application of tooth enamel sealants is a simple, fast treatment that usually does not need anesthesia or sedation, making it an easy procedure for all ages. Sealants are generally placed on permanent teeth and are not recommended for teeth that already have restorations or show signs of cavities.
How Are Sealants Placed?
During your child's visit, our dentists will examine their teeth and determine if dental sealants are ideal. Before applying dental sealants, our team will clean the treatment surfaces of the teeth to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar and apply a conditioning solution, which will help the sealants better adhere to the tooth structure. The solution will be rinsed away and the tooth thoroughly dried. We will then paint the sealant material onto the chewing surfaces with a small brush and set the material using a special curing light. After the application, the teeth and bite will be checked to ensure the sealants have settled into the correct positions.
Are There Aftercare Instructions for Dental Sealants?
Following your child's appointment, they will be able to return to a normal routine. Special instructions on caring for your child's sealants will be provided by our team, but we recommend avoiding hard, sticky, or crunchy foods for the first few days. It is important that your son or daughter follow a good oral care routine, including flossing daily and brushing at least twice each day. At your child's dental exam and cleaning visits at Advanced Dentistry, our dentists will determine if the sealants need to be applied at any time to protect your child's oral health over the years.
Does Insurance Cover Sealants?
Dental sealants are a preventive treatment that many insurance companies cover some or all of the costs for children. Coverage can vary, particularly in older patients, so a team member will review your benefits and determine any anticipated personal costs. Advanced Dentistry takes several payment methods, and we can assist you with applying for special financing plans. We want every member of your family to have a bright, healthy smile and strive to make dental care as affordable for our patients as possible.
Dental Sealants FAQ
At what age should you get sealants?
Sealants can be placed in patients of all ages. However, they are often most beneficial when the permanent first and second molars fully emerge into the mouth, as these teeth are more prone to developing cavities. The first molars typically erupt around age six, and the second molars generally erupt around age 12.
How long do sealants last?
With proper care, dental sealants may last for several years. But they can, at times, fall off or chip away. Our team will evaluate your child’s sealants at each of their dental checkup visits. If a sealant is missing, it is generally a quick and easy process to have it replaced.
Can sealants be placed over cavities?
Offering cavity protection, sealants are designed to cover the portions of the teeth that are most susceptible to tooth decay, which are the chewing surfaces. Sealants usually are not an option for treating tooth decay. However, in some cases, a sealant may be applied to a tooth that is showing very early signs of decay to help protect it from further damage.
Protect Your Child's Smile Against Tooth Decay
Your family members could be one of the many patients who can benefit from dental sealants to protect against the formation of tooth decay. Sealants from Advanced Dentistry of Centre County are a great way to minimize the need for more extensive procedures, such as fillings and dental crowns. A relatively quick and easy procedure, dental sealants can help you and your family experience better dental visits and improved overall health. To learn more about dental sealants, contact our State College, PA office to book an appointment with our dentists.
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