Most people visit the dentist for routine checkups, and occasionally, for dental repairs and restoration. However, there is a third kind of treatment that dentist in Bay City, Michigan can offer that has huge benefits for patients. Dental sealant is a preventative measure that can help to safeguard your teeth, stave off cavities and decay, and prevent enamel thinning and tooth sensitivity.
Who Is A Candidate For Dental Sealants?
Girls and boys aged 6 – 12 tend to be more at risk for decay on the tops of their molars and premolars and, therefore, are good candidates for dental sealants. However, older patients might also consider getting sealants, such as patients who have trouble maintaining proper oral hygiene practices or who are prone to cavities. At Bay City Dental Center, getting dental sealants is a convenient, uncomplicated process that, most often, needs no sedation. Schedule your visit, and a member of our dental staff can evaluate you or your child to learn if you might benefit from this easy and efficient solution.
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Why Do We Need Dental Sealant?
You might think that your teeth are smooth and impervious, but the truth is, even the healthiest teeth have natural pits and fissures in their biting surfaces. We might not be able to see them, but they are definitely there.
Like the crevices between your teeth, these pits and fissures can trap tiny particles, and they are very hard to clean, but unlike those crevices, you can’t floss them. Brushing and using mouthwash can help, but even that can’t eliminate all risk. Dental sealant helps to fill in those tiny holes, so the teeth are better protected.
Who Should Get Dental Sealant?
Since most cavities occur in the back teeth, where there are pits and fissures to assist with chewing, and since Dr. Matthew Ward, our dentist in Bay City, Michigan, is most concerned with preventing this in adult teeth, the ideal candidate for dental sealants are children, whose adult teeth have recently erupted, however, adults with healthy, undamaged teeth can also benefit from this procedure.
Damage to teeth starts as soon as they erupt from the gums, and while we can slow its progress by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, over time, everyone’s teeth will wear.
Dental sealants add an extra layer of protection by coating the teeth, particularly at the back where food and other material may become trapped in fissures and pits, and lead to cavities. By sealing the teeth, there’s a physical barrier against bacteria, and that prolongs the life span of the teeth.
How Dental Sealant Is Applied
As with all modern dental materials used by our dentist in Bay City, Michigan, sealants are entirely inert, nontoxic and safe to use, and most dentist these days use a material known as glass ionomer, or GIC.
The teeth destined for sealing are cleaned and dried thoroughly to begin with, to ensure no bacteria are trapped between the sealant and the tooth. A special solution is used on the chewing surfaces to cause mild abrasion, which enables the sealant to bond with the tooth. The sealant is then applied by our dental hygienist, and a special light may be used to dry the material thoroughly. The process is repeated on any other teeth to be sealed.
Dental sealant application is almost entirely painless, and many patients don’t require anesthesia. The procedure, when done correctly, can prevent cavities in the teeth for many years, and that can save patients time, money and pain.
Dental Sealant FAQ
Will my insurance cover dental sealants?
Given that dental sealants are usually considered a preventive dental treatment, several dental insurance plans will take care of them for individuals up to a certain age. Coverage can differ between teens and those over 20, so our billing specialists will assess your family's plan and make you aware of any remaining costs.
How much do dental sealants cost?
The overall price of dental sealants can vary depending on the patient's needs. During your consultation, our staff can assess the teeth and create a custom treatment plan. At this point, we'll have a more clear idea of the overall cost estimate.
What is the difference between a sealant and a filling?
A filling is used to repair damage to a tooth that has usually occurred from decay. A sealant, on the other hand, is a preventive measure the covers a portion of the tooth in order to prohibit any future damage.