- What Are Dental Sealants?
- How Do Sealants Work?
- Does Your Child Need Sealants?
- How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups. Your dentist can replace sealants as necessary.
A recent reportTrusted Source from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has touted the benefits of the relatively simple and inexpensive procedure in children.
Dental sealants are a thin coating that is painted on teeth to protect them from cavities.
This painless procedure can be $30 to $60 per tooth, although some insurance or discount plans can reduce that cost.
“Considering that less than half of children have them, I’d say [the trend of dental sealants] it still is gaining traction,” Ashley Grill, a New York-based dental hygienist, told Healthline. “Dental sealants are safe and effective, and they’ve been safe and effective for over 40 years.”
What if a small cavity is accidentally covered by a sealant?
The decay will not spread, because it is sealed off from its food and germ supply.
What the research shows:
- The CDC report states that dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities for two years after application.
- They also continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years.
- The sealants can be retained in the mouth for up to nine years, according to the CDC.
- About 43 percent of 6- to 11-year-old children have a dental sealant. Children from low income households were 20 percent less likely to have sealants than children from higher income households.
- School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.
- Applying sealants in school-based programs to the nearly 7 million children from low income households who don’t have them could save up to $300 million in dental treatment costs, the CDC reported.
- Dr. Valerie Barba, a dentist in New Jersey, told Healthline that sealants are the “most conservative” noninvasive treatment in dentistry.
- The sealants need to be monitored and maintained during regular care visits to ensure they do not wear away.
- They are technically sensitive to where they are placed, so practitioners who do not apply them correctly may not have the best success rates.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Sealants?
Many insurance companies cover the cost of sealants but usually only for patients younger than 18. Check with your dental insurance carrier to determine if sealants are covered under your plan.