Sealants:  FAQs

Dental sealants have been around for decades, and they are a great option for preventing cavities.  In this blog, we’ll answer Google’s most frequently asked questions about sealants.

Are Sealants Good for Teeth?

Yes.

Dental sealants protect teeth against cavities, which is very good.  Sealants fill in and seal the deep grooves on the biting surfaces of teeth.  This makes the surfaces easier to clean and less likely to accumulate plaque and stains.  Some sealants even release fluoride into the tooth, strengthening the enamel and fighting both bacteria and acid erosion.

Are Sealants for Teeth Safe?

Yes.

Some people have expressed concern over BPA in dental sealants.  BPA is not an ingredient in dental sealants.  It is a by-product of other ingredients, including bis-GMA, which is an ingredient in many brands of dental sealants.  BPA can result from hydrolysis of this and other ingredients.  The important thing to understand is that in scientific research studies, BPA has never been detected in a patient’s blood stream after dental work.  The amount of BPA detected in saliva at 1 and 3 hours after dental treatment is more than 50,000 times lower than the toxic level.  There is absolutely no risk for danger from BPA in dental sealants.

Are Sealants the Same as Fillings?

No.

Sealants prevent cavities from starting, and fillings repair cavities that have already developed.  Fillings require the removal of decayed tooth structure before replacing it with dental materials.  Sealants cover over healthy tooth structure to keep it healthy.  There is no anesthetic and no “drilling” with dental sealants.

Are Sealants Effective?

Yes.

Sealants protect teeth from cavities in the biting surface for many years.  Sealants can break, crack, or wear away, so it is important to have your dentist monitor their effectiveness over time.  Certain conditions or habits can lower the lifespan of a dental sealant, like chewing ice, heavy teeth clenching and/or grinding, and severe acid reflux.

Are Sealants Covered by Dental Insurance?

Sometimes.

Many dental insurance companies provide benefits for dental sealants as a preventive dental treatment.  For some, this can be a 100% coverage.  They often place restrictions on this coverage, though.  For example, some plans will pay 100% for sealants when placed on permanent molars only in children under the age of 15.  If you have this benefit, we urge you to take advantage of it.

We also urge you to follow the advice of your dentist.  Molars are not the only teeth that are at risk for cavities.  And obviously, children are not the only ones who get cavities.  Just because your insurance does not pay for a specific tooth or age doesn’t mean you don’t need it.

Are Sealants Worth the Money?

Yes.

Even if you have to pay the full fee in cash, sealants are worth it!  A sealant costs less than ¼ the fee of a dental filling.  By investing in a dental sealant, you not only save yourself the cost of a filling in the long run.  You also save the time and effort required in repairing cavities through expensive dental treatments.

How Are Sealants Applied?

The application of sealants is simple and fast.  Dr. Chowning and our dental hygienists can apply dental sealants in conjunction with any scheduled dental visit, or you can make a separate appointment for them.  Applying sealants is a three-step process, and nothing hurts!

First, we clean the biting surface of the tooth with a tangy acid wash (don’t worry, it doesn’t sting or burn at all).  With our little ones, we call this “blue shampoo”.  After rinsing and drying the tooth, we gently paint the sealant material into the grooves of the tooth.  The final step is curing (hardening) the material with a bright blue light.

We will thoroughly rinse away any unpleasant taste after ensuring the sealant is firmly attached to the tooth.  The bite on the treated tooth may feel funny for the first day or two, and then it will return to normal.

More Questions about Dental Sealants?

Call 940-382-1750 to schedule a professional teeth cleaning or a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He and our wonderful dental hygienists can answer any question you have about sealants.

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