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Sealants and Fluoride

Sealants and FluorideFluoride

It’s important to protect your tooth enamel, which is the outer protective layer of your teeth.

Your daily eating and drinking, along with naturally occurring elements in your body, can adversely affect tooth enamel, which is why we often recommend fluoride treatments. 

Fluoride is a natural mineral that fights bacteria such as plaque and decay. 

Our hygienists can perform a simple fluoride treatment during your cleaning. They’ll use a swab or brush to apply the fluoride to your teeth, which you will rinse off after a couple of minutes.

You may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for 30 minutes after the treatment. 

When helping children brush their teeth, you should apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to their toothbrush. Starting good oral habits early helps to protect their baby teeth and permanent teeth. 

At Hicks Family Dentistry, we will assess your need for fluoride during your cleaning appointment. Note that some insurance plans will not cover fluoride treatments for adults, so be sure to check with your insurance company. 

Sealants

A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, usually the back premolars and molars. The sealant bonds into the nooks and crannies of the teeth, forming a protective shield against tooth decay. 

Brushing alone is not enough to protect these vulnerable chewing areas of the teeth from tooth decay. Sealants effectively “seal out” food particles and plaque. 

Who Should Get Sealants?

Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Sealant application is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth:

  1. The teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried. 
  2. A solution is applied to tooth surfaces to gently roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
  3. The teeth are then rinsed and dried again. 
  4. The sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. 

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants can protect teeth for up to 10 years. They should be checked at regular dental check-ups. Dr. Hicks and team can replace sealants as necessary.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Sealants?

Many insurance companies cover the cost of sealants but usually only for patients younger than 18. Check with your dental plan to determine if sealants are covered.

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