Why Dental Sealants for Kids

Why Dental Sealants for Kids

February 18, 2020
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the US. In Washington State, nearly 40% of kindergarteners and 58% of third graders have cavities. This might sound dire, but it doesn’t have to be: cavities are preventable.

In addition to brushing, flossing, and regular checkups, dental sealants are another important measure for protecting kids’ teeth against decay. But despite their importance, many parents don’t know much about dental sealants — how they work, whether they are safe, and what they do to protect kids’ teeth.

So, what exactly are dental sealants, and why do kids need them?

Why Kids Need Dental Sealants



Early cavity prevention is extremely important. Cavities in baby teeth lead to cavities in permanent teeth, and to a lifetime of oral health problems. Preventing cavities before they start sets kids up for success — which is where dental sealants come in.

Cavities don’t happen overnight — they are more like a slow erosion. The bacteria in our mouths feeds off sugar in foods we eat. This process leaves behind nasty acids, which weaken our enamel little by little. A dental sealant is a protective coating placed on the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth, or molars. Sealants fill the deep grooves that are hard for kids to properly clean when brushing.

In this way, dental sealants are like little tooth-sized levies — one more barrier protecting our children’s teeth against the slow erosion caused by bacteria and acids.

When Should Kids Get Dental Sealants?



The ADA recommends dental sealants for kids ages 5 to 14. Ask your dentist about dental sealants for your child as soon as their first permanent molars come in, between the ages of 5 and 7. Another set of dental sealants can be applied when kids get their second set of permanent molars, usually between age 11 and 14.

Dental sealants are also a good preventive measure for any teenager particularly prone to cavities.

Are Sealants Covered by Dental Benefits?



Dental sealants are considered a preventive benefit, just like regular exams and fluoride treatments. Most Delta Dental plans cover preventive services and dental sealants at 100%, so your child gets all their protective sealants at little or no out-of-pocket cost.

Create or sign in to your Delta Dental MySmile® account and use MySmile Cost Genie® to get a cost estimate for dental sealants based on your child’s specific benefits and dentist.