What Are Dental Sealants?
Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 is dedicating to helping patients of all ages achieve the best possible results for a healthy smile. To help patients protect their teeth against cavities and give kids the foundation needed for lasting oral health, our general dentist proudly offers dental sealants as a preventive service. Dental sealants are a thin coating of white or tooth-colored material that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of back teeth. This material fills in the pits and fissures (grooves) to help keep bacteria, plaque, and food from collecting and minimize the chance of cavity formation. While sealants are often recommended for children who are at a greater risk of decay, they may also be ideal for teens and adults who may be more cavity-prone. Sealants can help reduce the risk of cavities and ultimately the need for more extensive treatments, such as dental fillings or crowns. Learn whether sealants are a good way to protect the smiles of those you love by scheduling a consultation with a general dentist at our Houston, TX family dental center.
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Who Is a Candidate for Dental Sealants?
Patients who are in the childhood or teen years are often at an elevated risk for cavities to develop in the premolar and molar teeth. By nature, the back teeth have deeper grooves in the chewing surfaces in which food, plaque, and bacteria tend to stick. When allowed to sit on the teeth for any period of time, this accumulation creates a prime environment in which tooth decay can develop. Filling these grooves with dental sealants can help to prevent debris from collecting and sticking to the chewing surfaces of these teeth. Typically, we recommend that children have sealants placed on their back teeth between the ages of 6 – 12, though patients of any age may still be good candidates. Since sealants are a preventive procedure, they are usually only placed on teeth that have grown in completely, are free of decay, and that do not already have fillings.
How Are Dental Sealants Placed?
We will evaluate your child's teeth to determine if they are a candidate for receiving dental sealants. During this examination visit, we will look for cavities on the back teeth and other potential concerns. If tooth decay is present, a restorative approach may be recommended instead of sealants. Our Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 team strives to make your family's dental care as efficient and convenient as possible and may be able to place your child's sealants that same day. We can also schedule you to come back at a more convenient time if that works better for your family's schedule. To prepare the teeth for sealants, our team will clean the chewing surfaces of the teeth with a special paste and liquid cleanser. The teeth will then be thoroughly rinsed and dried. Sealants are a very simple, comfortable procedure and do not require the need for anesthetics.
Dental sealants work best in a very dry environment so we will work to isolate each tooth to provide the best treatment outcome. Sealants start out as a flowable liquid, which is painted in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. A special curing light is then placed over each sealant and held there for about 20 – 30 seconds, at which point it sets (hardens) and adheres to the tooth. To ensure an even bite and proper coverage of your child's teeth with the sealant material, we will check your child's bite and make any necessary adjustments. Sealants offer a smooth, comfortable feel that resembles natural teeth.
Caring for Dental Sealants
At the end of your child's sealant appointment, our team will give you instructions on how to care for their teeth in the initial days following sealant placement. To help keep the sealants from becoming dislodged or damaged, we recommend that your child avoid eating anything crunchy, sticky, or hard for a few days. Candy, gum, and ice chewing (which is never advised) should also be avoided to help preserve the newly placed sealants. Though dental sealants help to minimize the chance of tooth decay developing within the back teeth, it is still very important that you child keeps up with good brushing and flossing habits each day and visit Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 at least every six months for a dental cleaning and exam appointment. During these routine visits, we will evaluate the sealants and make sure they are still supporting your child's oral health.
Are Sealants Covered by Dental Insurance?
Since dental sealants are a decay prevention service, they are often covered by dental insurances for patients up to a specific age. Our Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 team will learn about your individual dental coverage and let you know if there will be any out-of-pocket costs. Our team wants to help you give your kids a great start in life and is pleased to offer a wide range of payment options to help dental care fit within your budget. Ask our team about low- or no-interest financing options through CareCredit® to help your family enjoy healthy, happy smiles.
Protect Against Tooth Decay
Sealants offer a simple, easy way to protect your family's smiles against tooth decay and minimize the need for future restorative care. Covering the chewing surfaces of molar and premolar teeth, sealants are a smooth, tooth-colored material that works to prevent food, plaque, and bacteria from collecting in the grooves of teeth and leading to cavities. To learn if dental sealants are a good cavity prevention option for your child's smile, schedule a visit with a dentist at our Houston, TX practice. Our Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 team is ready to help your family enjoy the convenient, comprehensive care needed for beautiful smiles that last.