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.