A commonly requested dental benefit by employees with children, sealant coverage is crucial to starting young people early on the right path for a lifetime of oral health. Parents naturally seek out the best for their kids, so a simple benefit like sealants that can help protect children’s teeth adds value to an insurance plan. Below is an explanation of sealants and the types of coverage Delta Dental offers groups and individuals.
What are sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin protective coating (clear, white or slightly tinted) made from plastic or other dental materials. The dentist, dental hygienist or other qualified dental professional brushes them in liquid form onto molars and premolars covering the enamel and sealing the small spaces between teeth. Special care is taken to cover the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces that trap food particles that brushing and flossing can’t remove. After the sealant has been applied (painted on), it is then hardened for a few moments with a curing light. It’s a fast, painless procedure that requires no numbing or drilling.
What are the benefits of sealants?
Sealants form a protective barrier or shield against bacterial plaque that causes decay – like a raincoat for your teeth. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years, therefore preventing the risk of tooth loss and possible bite issues for other teeth brought on by cavities.
Sealants can help protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years. However, they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups and reapplied as needed.
Who can get sealants?
Anyone with healthy teeth can get sealants – including adults without decay or fillings in their molars. But children should receive them as soon as their molars and premolars come in around the age of six, and then again as additional, permanent molars come in around age 12. Protecting them early will keep them healthy between the cavity-prone years of 6-14. Molars and premolars are particularly susceptible to tooth decay. According to the CDC, children without sealants have almost 3 times as many cavities than children with sealants. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run.