Understanding Dental Sealants

admin_lde Pediatric Dentistry

Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Dental sealants are a safe, non-toxic plastic coating for the back teeth or molars. Chewing teeth or molars have tiny grooves and fissures that add to their efficiency, but they also are notorious places for plaque and cavities to develop. Sealants seal over these fissures in the tooth and stop the deepening of the grooves before the plaque can affect the enamel. While fluoride protects all the surfaces of the teeth, sealants add extra protection to the molars by protecting these hard to clean surfaces where bacteria tend to lurk. Your Erie family dentist wants you to know the important role that sealants play in oral health.

The Process

Sealants can be applied as soon as the permanent molars have erupted. At the dentist’s office, the dental hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth needing sealants. This removes food or other debris from the grooves and fissures of the teeth.

Then the tooth is dried and etched. Etching is the application of a 30% solution of weak acid to roughen the enamel’s surface. This also raises the reactivity of the enamel to prepare it for bonding with the sealant.

The hygienist brushes the sealant on with a small brush, and the tooth is exposed to a self-curing light for 30 seconds.

After the sealant is applied and cured, the hygienist and the dentist will evaluate the sealant and the occlusion (or biting properties) of the tooth. You should refrain from eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes, following the application of sealants.

ADA Recommendation

The American Dental Association recommends the use of dental sealants, especially for children. They reduce caries or plaque by 80% and are safe to use. Children and teens don’t brush very well, or even adamantly dislike brushing their teeth, so something that can automatically reduce plaque and cavities from plaque is a win for your child.

Cost of Dental Sealants

The average cost of dental sealants in the Erie area is between $30 and $40 a tooth. In metropolitan areas, this figure may run slightly higher. Some dental plans and insurance cover dental sealants, especially for children under the age of 18. Research shows that school-aged children without sealants have three times more cavities than those who do have them. Sealants could have saved the parents of these children (without sealants) $300 million combined in dental treatments. The sealants can last up to 9 years, although reapplication may be necessary. If you would like more research on this topic, please contact us at Laser Dentistry of Erie.

A few minor Risks

Sealants that chip or break off cannot be repaired but must be replaced. Also, a concern for parents is the risk of synthetic estrogens, which remain in the salivary glands for about 3 hours. Research has shown, however, that simply breathing air exposes a child to 10 times more BPA than dental sealants. The BPAs are completely gone within 24 hours. Most dentists observe no adverse reactions to dental sealants and patients tolerate dental sealants well. Treating tooth decay can involve a range of dental materials with more chemicals than dental sealants.

Strange Bite

Your child may complain of an unnatural bite for a little while like there is something extra in the mouth (which there is), but this sensation wears off pretty quickly.

Dental Sealants in Erie

All in all, dental sealants help protect your child’s oral health and save you money in the long run. If you think dental sealants are right for your child, we want to help! Laser Dentistry of Erie can start your child on the road to optimum dental health. We proudly serve the Erie, Harborcreek, and Millcreek areas!Call Laser Dentistry of Erie at (814) 825-2615 today to schedule a consultation!