What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that a dentist applies to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. These surfaces have pits and grooves in which food can get caught, allowing bacteria to grow and produce acid that causes dental caries. It is hard to get these spots clean, even with proper brushing. A dental sealant fills in the depressions and keeps food and germs out.
Application and cost of dental sealants
The application of a dental sealant is a simple, painless procedure that only requires one visit. The dentist cleans and prepares the teeth, "paints" the liquid sealant over the pits and grooves, and then hardens the coating.
The cost of dental sealants is reasonable, and by protecting the teeth from decay, they can save a lot of money on repair work such as fillings, root canals, crowns and bridges.
Dental sealants are not reimbursed by the Régie de l'assurance-maladie du Québec. However, if you have private dental insurance, sealants may be covered. Ask your dentist for more information.
Which teeth are suitable for sealants?
Dental sealants are usually applied when a child's permanent molars come into the mouth, between the ages of 5 and 6. Second molars appear between the ages of 11 and 14.
Premolars also have pits and grooves, so a dental sealant can be beneficial on them as well.
What are the benefits of dental sealants?
Almost all dental caries in children occur on the chewing surfaces, where there are pits and grooves. That is precisely where a dental sealant can be applied, protecting the health of your child's teeth and saving you the considerable expense of repair work.
Dental sealants last for many years. They can sometimes become detached or cracked, but they can easily be repaired or replaced during a regular visit to the dentist.
Remember that dental sealants are a complement to, not a substitute for, the other important oral hygiene practices (wise food choices, brushing and regular dental care).