Pediatric Dental Sealants in Austin TX

Austin TX • Buda TX • Belterra TX

Brushing and flossing your teeth and gums is the most effective way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But even with the most meticulous brushing and flossing routine, you may not be able to get to all the surfaces, cracks, and crevices of your back teeth. This is where dental sealants come in. Dental sealants or cavity prevention sealants protect the hard-to-reach surfaces of your teeth by keeping out potentially harmful foods and plaque that can cause tooth decay.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that seal the grooves found on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars and premolars) where tiny food particles and bacteria accumulate and cause tooth decay. The tooth sealant sticks to the troughs of the teeth, forming a protective coating over the pits and fissures of the tooth from acid that causes cavities. They also help prevent tooth decay by creating a smooth, easier-to-clean surface. 

Who are the Best Candidates for Getting Sealants?

Sealants can be placed on all patients, but because children and teenagers have a higher likelihood of developing cavities in the grooves and depressions of their premolars and molars, they are the ideal candidates for sealants. 

Generally, children should get a cavity-protecting sealant for their teeth on their premolars and permanent molars as soon as these teeth come in (first molars around age 6 and second molars and premolars around age 12). This way, the sealants can protect the teeth through the years, when children and teens are most at risk of getting their first cavities. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can benefit from sealants as well.

How Are The Tooth Sealants Applied?

Applying a sealant for cavities is a simple and painless process that takes 2-3 minutes per tooth to complete. 

  1. First, we clean the teeth to remove plaque or food particles and then thoroughly examine them for tooth decay.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and we place an absorbent material such as cotton or a suction device around the tooth to keep it dry throughout the procedure.
  3. The tooth is treated with a mild acid solution (about the strength of lemon juice) to roughen the tooth surface - this allows the dental sealant to stick to the tooth surface.
  4. The acid solution is then rinsed, and the teeth are dried again.
  5. Finally, the dental sealant is painted directly onto the chewing surface of each tooth and cured/hardened using a curing light.

Why Choose a Tooth Sealant?

Here are the incredible benefits sealants offer and how your teeth can benefit: 

  • They help fight dental cavities. A recent study showed an incredible 80% reduction of decay.
  • Dental sealants improve oral hygiene.
  • The procedure is quick, painless, and safe.
  • Sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible when talking, smiling, or eating.
  • Eliminates the need for complex dental treatments such as root canals, dental crowns, or dental implants.
  • Dental sealants are long-lasting and can protect against cavities for as long as 5 to 10 years.
  • Most dental insurances pay for the complete cost of sealants as they see an overall benefit with regards to saving money. Cavities that occur in childhood often need to be replaced several times over a lifetime and theoretically what starts as a small cavity could end up (over several replacements) turning into a more extensive dental treatment such as a crown and/or root canal.

How Do You Care for Dental Sealants?

Once placed, dental sealants do not require much in the way of maintenance. They are cured instantly so your child can eat and drink right away. Sealants are not foolproof however and eating excessively hard things like hard ice or unpopped popcorn kernels (for example) could cause the sealant to break. In addition, clenching and grinding can cause excessive wear on dental sealants. For this reason, routine dental checkups and cleanings are recommended and your pediatric dentist will check the integrity of your sealants and may recommend a “touch up” or “repair”.

While the dental sealant protects the biting surfaces of the teeth, which tend to be the most cavity-prone surfaces in the mouth, the gaps between your teeth and the gum line are still susceptible to the buildup of bacteria from plaque and tartar. In other words, you still need to brush and floss!

Dental Sealants Cost

Dental sealants are typically covered by insurance but if there is no coverage, they are priced to be affordable. In addition, if multiple teeth are needing sealants and the cost seems excessive, ask our treatment coordinator about payment options. We want to help your child have the healthiest teeth possible!

Tooth Sealants in Austin, Buda, Belterra, and Bastrop TX

Dental sealants are a highly effective, painless, and cost-efficient way to protect your teeth and your child's teeth from the painful effects of cavities. For more information about dental sealants and how they can help protect your family from tooth decay, contact one of our pediatric dental offices today to schedule an appointment.