Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health issues experienced by children. A pediatric dentist can help your child develop a proper oral hygiene routine that may prevent serious consequences, such as problems with speaking, eating, learning, and playing.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of children have a decayed…
Ask a Pediatric Dentist: Dental Sealants FAQs
Dental sealants are a popular option for preventing tooth decay and preserving overall dental health, but many people have questions about their use and necessity in a pediatric dentist office. Do not let lack of information keep you from exploring this important dental option.
Common dental questions
Q: Where on the tooth are dental sealants applied?
A: Typically, dental sealants are placed on areas of the teeth that cannot be easily cleaned with a toothbrush. These can include the chewing spaces of molars and any areas with deep grooves or other unusual shapes. These are the areas where food particles and bacteria are most likely to hide, even if a child is brushing regularly.
Q: How long do sealants last?
A: Sealants can last somewhere from six to 10 years. It is particularly helpful for children to have sealants on their more vulnerable teeth during their preteen and teenage years, when they are the most cavity-prone. A typical sealant can last this whole time period.
Dental fillings and age
Q: Are sealants necessary for baby teeth?
A: Sealants are less commonly applied to baby teeth, but there are circumstances where this can be beneficial. Since baby teeth are necessary placeholders for adult teeth, it is important that they do not fall out before their time. When baby teeth are lost early due to poor dental health, adult teeth are likely to come in crooked and are more prone to decay. So, if your child’s baby teeth have particularly deep grooves or edges that make them more likely to suffer from decay, sealants may be placed.
Q: Are sealants covered by insurance for most patients?
A: Every insurance policy is different. However, it is typical for insurance providers to cover all or most of the cost of preventative sealants if the patient is under 18 years of age. It is possible that there may be restrictions on the application of sealants. For example, some insurance policies require an extra dental visit before covering a sealant placement. Be sure to check with your insurance for exact details.
Other questions about the dental procedure
Q: How are sealants applied?
A: After a rigorous cleaning and drying process, the sealant is smoothly painted onto the tooth, where it will bond and harden. Sometimes a curing light is used to assist the bonding process.
Q: Is it painful to get a sealant?
A: Getting a pediatric dental sealant is sometimes mildly uncomfortable, but it is not painful. No anesthetic is necessary, and the procedure does not utilize drills or any cutting.
Q: Are there risks with dental sealants?
A: Dental sealants have been in use for decades, and no major problems have been reported, as they have proven to be very safe and effective. There is, however, a low level of possible exposure to industrial chemical BPA with dental sealants. BPA is a chemical found in some plastics that has been linked to heart disease, infertility and other problems. The level of BPA exposure from dental sealants is low, and the FDA and WHO have both recognized these low levels of exposure just to be safe. It is important to remember that the amount of BPA in a dental sealant is far less than the chemical exposures that result during treatments for tooth decay in patients who do not have sealants.
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