Economical, painless and effective, dental sealants protect teeth at the back of the mouth most vulnerable to decay. They greatly reduce the risk of cavities and cost less than fillings. Yet many parents don’t know about the powers of this “invisible protector.” To help you decide if dental sealants are a good choice for your child, here are answers to questions we often hear at Palmetto Kids Dentistry:

What are dental sealants?

A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of back teeth—namely premolars and molars—to create a protective shield over pits and grooves where food can get trapped. This coating seals out bacteria, greatly reducing the risk of tooth decay.

Does my child need sealants?

Most children and teenagers are good candidates for sealants—even if they practice excellent oral hygiene at home. This is because teeth at the back of the mouth contain deep depressions that are very difficult to clean thoroughly enough to prevent buildup of cavity-causing bacteria.

How are dental sealants applied?

Having sealants applied is a quick, comfortable and simple process. Your dentist cleans, dries and preps the tooth before “painting” the enamel with sealant. The entire process takes a few minutes.

At what age should my child get sealants?

We recommend having sealants applied to your child’s back teeth as soon as the six-year molars have come in.

How long will they last?

Sealants can protect teeth for as long as a decade, if they’re accompanied by regular dental checkups as well as regular brushing and flossing.

How much do sealants cost?

Sealants typically cost much than less fillings, making them a very cost-effective option for parents.

Are sealants for kids covered by insurance?

The cost of sealants is typically covered by dental insurance companies. Check with your carrier to determine if sealants are included in your plan.