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What are Dental Sealants?

what are dental sealants

What if there was a way to prevent cavities in some of the most decay-prone areas of your child’s mouth? With dental sealants, you can!

What is a Dental Sealant?

A dental sealant is a protective coating that goes over the chewing surface of teeth. It basically blocks out any plaque or food debris so that it can’t settle inside hard-to-clean spaces. By creating a smoother surface on the chewing portion of the tooth, it’s easier to clean those areas with a toothbrush.

Children often lack the dexterity they need to clean all of their teeth as well as they ought to. Or, they have dietary habits that may make them more cavity-prone. Getting dental sealants early on helps reduce the chances that they’ll have cavities or need fillings in those spaces a few years down the road.

Types of Dental Sealants

You can think of dental sealants as thin, plastic-like coatings. The materials are BPA-free and can be clear, white, or even come in different colors to make them fun. Most blend right in with the color of your child’s teeth.

Why Get Dental Sealants (in Wheat Ridge)?

Since the chewing (occlusal) surfaces have lots of deep grooves, pits, and fissures, they are prone to getting cavities. Especially since a toothbrush bristle may not even fit inside of these narrow spaces. Sealants create smooth, shallow surfaces that are easier to clean.

Which Teeth Need Dental Sealants?

Typically, we only recommend sealing the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars, since those have the deepest grooves.

Your child’s permanent “first” and “second” molars erupt sometime around the ages of 6 and 12, give or take. If we see that those teeth are beginning to erupt through the gums, we may recommend scheduling the sealants at their next checkup or re-evaluating the teeth a month or two later to seal them as early as possible.

Keep in mind that sealants only protect the chewing surfaces. They do not protect the spaces between teeth, where they touch side-by-side. So even if your child has sealants, they’ll still need to floss their teeth every day.

When Should a Child Get Sealants?

Sealants aren’t any good if there is already a cavity in a tooth. They only work for preventing tooth decay by creating an easy-to-clean surface. As mentioned above, most children will be at least 6 years old before they need their first sealant. We typically don’t seal baby teeth.

During your child’s checkups, our kid’s dentist in Wheat Ridge will routinely monitor their tooth development and oral hygiene. As soon as we see their permanent molars begin to come in, we’ll recommend sealing them.

How Much do Sealants Cost?

Fortunately, sealants are a completely preventative service. So, if you have dental insurance, they’re usually covered 100% by your benefit package. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, the price of sealants is extremely modest (far less than half the price of fillings) making them the perfect investment in your child’s oral health.

What to Expect During Sealant Placement

It only takes a few minutes to place a sealant from start to finish. The process is so simple, that we routinely place the sealants during your child’s checkup instead of rescheduling them at a later time.

To place sealants, we’ll need to dry and condition your child’s tooth, rinse it off, and dry it again. We’ll use special absorbent cotton pads to keep the tooth isolated and dry during the process. Then, the sealant material is applied onto the chewing surface and we cure it with a bright light. No numbing or drilling is required.

Visit Our Dentist in Wheat Ridge

For pediatric dental sealants near you, call Kid Focus Dentistry today. We can fit your child’s sealants into their regular checkup or schedule a short visit afterward to seal their molars. The process only takes a few minutes.

Contact our Wheat Ridge kids’ dentist now to reserve an appointment.

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