What are sealants?

Sealants are a preventive and noninvasive treatment to help deter the formation of cavities on the biting surface of children’s permanent molars. Pits and fissures or “grooves” occur naturally in the chewing surface of molars. In the process of chewing, food and saliva can be ground into these areas. Because they are so thin and deep toothbrush bristles cannot clean this debris out.  Over time a stain will form that will eventually become decay.  A sealant is a plastic material that is bonded directly to the tooth surface to prevent this process.  When a sealant is applied the tooth is cleaned out with an etching solution. Then the liquid sealant flows down into the pits and fissures and then it is hardened with a light.  They are ideally recommended for the adult permanent molars, but are also recommended for primary molars if the child is cavity prone or has exceptionally deep grooves.  Dental insurance usually covers sealants for permanent molars in children, but the coverage varies by plans.  You should make sure that you know what your coverage is before completing treatment.  There are often frequency and age stipulations.  While the cost is significantly less than a filling, they are usually done in multiples and if they are not covered it would be costly.