When it comes to your dental hygiene, the old saying is true: it’s easier to prevent problems than treat them. And preventing decay, cavities, and other dental issues before they happen is better than treating them, as it saves you time and money in the long run.
Brushing twice a day with an electric toothbrush and flossing daily can ensure that your family’s teeth stay healthy and that you avoid cavities. But another easy and pain-free way of protecting your teeth from decay and cavities is getting dental sealants.
Tooth sealants are becoming more common for people of all ages, including children. Dental sealants are affordable and can last for years, preventing tooth decay and cavities.
Here are the benefits of dental sealants, how they protect your teeth, and how much they cost.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are protective shields painted on your teeth to prevent them from decaying. Sealants are made of a thin plastic coating that blocks bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves and holes in your teeth.
Dental sealants are most commonly used on the back of children’s molars, where it’s hard for them to properly clean their teeth with brushing.
What are the Benefits of Dental Sealants?
Tooth decay is a common problem in both children and adults. When sugars from food and drinks linger in your mouth, bacteria feed on the sugars and form a layer of plaque. Plaque wears away your tooth’s enamel, creating tiny holes in the teeth. If the area isn’t cleaned or treated, those holes can develop into a cavity.
Cavities can create bigger problems if they aren’t treated properly. They can impact deeper layers of your teeth, leading to gingivitis or periodontal disease down the line.
Dental sealants are very effective in protecting your teeth from cavities. The CDC has shown that sealants protect against 80% of cavities in the first two years after they are applied. For the four years following that, they protect against 50% of cavities.
Best of all, the procedure for getting dental sealants is quick and painless for both you and your child!
What is the Dental Sealant Procedure Like?
Getting dental sealants might be the quickest and easiest thing you’ve ever done at the dentist.
During your visit, we’ll clean your teeth and may perform x-rays to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy. After that, we’ll rinse and dry your tooth so the sealant won’t wash off.
We’ll apply a gel that allows the sealant to stick to your tooth. We’ll then paint the sealant onto your tooth with a small brush. We might use air or light to help the sealant dry and harden.
Once the sealant is applied, there’s no recovery time or pain. You can eat and drink normally, though you may need to avoid very sticky foods like toffee, gummy candy, and caramel for a few days until the sealants fully harden.
With daily brushing and flossing, sealants can help you keep your and your children’s teeth healthy for years.
How Long do Teeth Sealants Last?
Most dental sealants last for up to 9 years. They stay on your tooth, preventing decay and cavities by filling in tiny holes in your teeth where bacteria could enter.
At your regular dental cleanings and checkups, ask us to check your sealants and make sure they still look good.
Occasionally, tooth sealants can fall off or crack. This is rare, but if it happens, we can easily replace them to make sure your teeth stay protected.
Dental Sealants for Kids
Cavities are most common in the back of your child’s teeth, especially their molars. Molars are harder to clean with brushing and flossing and have grooves that can easily trap food and sugars. This makes your child’s molars more prone to cavities and tooth decay.
Because of this, the CDC recommends dental sealants for children on their permanent (adult) molars as soon as they come in. Most children have their first set of adult molars around age 6, and their second set of adult molars around age 12. Once those molars emerge, the CDC recommends getting dental sealants to protect them from decay and cavities.
Dental Sealants for Adults
Cavities don’t stop with age: 92% of adults aged 20 to 64 have had at least one cavity!
Many adults continue to get cavities, even with a consistent brushing and flossing routine. There are other factors that can increase your chance of tooth decay as well, such as medications that cause dry mouth (since saliva helps wash bacteria off your teeth and prevents cavities).
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children to prevent tooth decay, but adults can benefit from sealants as well.
There’s one difference: if you already have fillings on your teeth, dental sealants many not be effective. Ask your dentist about this at your next cleaning so they can give you advice specific to your teeth.
How Much do Tooth Sealants Cost?
Sealants are an affordable way to prevent paying more for dental care in the future.
Most sealants cost between $30 and $60 per tooth. Depending on your insurance plan, you might get a portion of that covered.
But considering how much time, money, and discomfort sealants can prevent, they’re well worth the cost.
Depending on the kind of filling you get, having a cavity filled can cost anywhere from $50 to $4,500 per tooth. If decay continues, you might need to get the filling replaced, get a crown, or even get a root canal. Even if you have dental insurance, all those procedures can come with expensive bills.
The best way to save money on dental care is to prevent decay and cavities from ever happening. That’s why it’s important to consider sealants for you and your children.
And make your dental health even more affordable with Access Health Dental’s AHDSmiles Dental Savings Plan. With the AHDSmiles Dental Savings Plan, you can get affordable dental care for you and your family even if you don’t have insurance.
We offer free check-ups and a discounted fee schedule that includes exclusive 40% savings. Plus, you can take advantage of discounted orthodontics and specialty procedures and a patient referral rewards program!
Ask Your Dentist About Dental Sealants
Make an appointment with Access Health Dental to talk to your dentist and hygienist about tooth sealants for you and your children.
We’ll discuss whether you or your child are qualified to get sealants and how much it will cost. We’ll also walk you through the procedure and tell you what to expect.
At Access Health Dental, we’re committed to keeping your teeth healthy and beautiful throughout your entire life. Let’s start today.