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Your children brush twice a day — so why do they still get small cavities? Brushing and flossing cleans most of the surfaces of their front teeth, but getting to the crevices in the back molars and premolars is nearly impossible for little, untrained hands. Those tiny dips and pits are perfect for trapping food and bacteria, which often results in the formation of cavities in young, vulnerable teeth.
Demonstration of cleaning teeth with a toothbrush

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What Are Sealants?

Fortunately, at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry— your Raleigh area family dental office — we can include sealants in your child’s dental plan: a noninvasive, preventive tooth-decay treatment that protects teeth and keeps them healthy while they mature and strengthen.

Dental sealants are made from a resin material that is used to coat the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It is painted on and seals the nooks and crannies in the teeth so that food and other plaque-causing materials that cause cavities are kept out.

Sealants are especially beneficial for children because their newly erupted, permanent teeth are most susceptible to cavities and least benefited by fluoride. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sealants should be used as part of a child’s total preventive dental care.

A complete preventive dental program includes sealants, fluoride, plaque removal (good home care), careful food choices, and regular dental care. Many young adults can also benefit from dental sealants. In addition, sealants help to maintain the health of teeth. Each time a tooth is filled due to tooth decay, additional tooth structure is lost.

Sealants last an average of six to eight years, after which time they need to be replaced. Therefore, sealants often save time, money, reduce the discomfort associated with dental treatment procedures, and keep the tooth healthy.

The Procedure

At Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry, the procedure for applying sealants is simple, painless, fast, and takes only one visit.

  1. First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
  5. Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

Many insurance companies cover the cost of sealants. Check with your dental insurance carrier to determine if sealants are covered under your plan.


Are sealants only for children?
Though pediatric dentists most often use dental sealants as a protective tooth-decay treatment for children, they are also perfect for adults who don’t have cavities or fillings in their molars. Talk to one of our Raleigh area dentists at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry about adding them to your existing dental plan.Though pediatric dentists most often use dental sealants as a protective tooth-decay treatment for children, they are also perfect for adults who don’t have cavities or fillings in their molars. Talk to us about adding them to your existing dental plan.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants are incredibly strong and can withstand the force of chewing. They have been found to reduce the rate of decay by over 70%, and they last over a decade.
Do I still need to brush and floss twice a day with sealants?
Sealants only protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth from cavities. Brushing and flossing regularly is the only way to make sure all of your teeth, as well as your overall oral health, stay in excellent condition.

The team at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry’s Raleigh area dental offices is happy to answer your questions about sealants and cavity prevention. Call today to find out more or to set up an appointment.