Des Moines Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants Q & A

A dental sealant is an acrylic-like material that helps shield out decay-causing bacteria and tiny food particles from the chewing surfaces of back teeth, thereby reducing the risk of getting cavities.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a flowable plastic-like material that hardens when cured.  Sealants are generally applied to back chewing teeth (or any teeth) that are at a high risk of developing a cavity.  Your back teeth (and some front teeth) will have normal development grooves and pits, which can be difficult to keep clean, especially in children whose brushing habits may be inconsistent.  In some patients, these grooves and pits can be deep, allowing bacteria to hide and cause a cavity.  Studies have shown that teeth that are sealed were less likely to develop a cavity.

How are dental sealants applied?

Dental sealants are applied by your dental hygienist or by your dentist during a regular dental appointment.  Placing sealants requires no shot of anesthetic and are painless and we do not remove any tooth structure.  First, the teeth to be sealed is cleaned with a paste to remove plaque.  Then we apply a special etching solution to the tooth surface so the sealant “sticks” better.  After about 15 seconds, the etchant is removed and the sealant is applied and then cured with a special blue light.  Depending on how many teeth are being sealed, the procedure can take 10 minutes to 45 minutes.

How long do dental sealants last?

Dental sealants can last as long as 10 years.  It is important to come in for your routine dental cleanings and checkups so your hygienist and dentist can determine if the sealants should be reapplied to give your teeth the best protection against developing a cavity.

Does insurance cover the cost of dental sealants?

Insurance coverage for dental sealants can vary from one insurance policy to another.  Generally, insurance policies cover dental sealants to the age of 18 years.  You can call your plan administrator to find out or we can send in a pre-estimate on your behalf.

A final word from Dr. Trung Phan:

Throughout your sealant procedure, you may have questions that are not covered above.  We will make sure to answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable during your sealant treatment.  We love getting questions from our patients!  Our goal is to help you preserve your natural teeth for a lifetime, because your smile is your best asset!