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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: DougStache on December 19, 2013, 04:13:22 PM

Title: Are dental sealants worth it?
Post by: DougStache on December 19, 2013, 04:13:22 PM
My wife went to the dentist today, and was recommended to get 10 sealants for $33 each.  Insurance does not cover them.  This was her first dental visit in several years, and she had only a few cavities.  Dropping $330 to prevent cavities in someone who is not already cavity prone seems a little silly to me.  Most searching I have done mentions sealants with respect to kids, and suggests that they are really only applicable to adults in cases when they get a lot of cavities.

Do you think this dentist is making a money grab?  What would you do?
Title: Re: Are dental sealants worth it?
Post by: 22U44 on December 19, 2013, 05:50:18 PM
I had all my bicuspids and molars sealed when I was 12 or so. At the time, i was getting cavities on a fairly regular basis due to a combination of poor dental hygiene and naturally deep pitts in my teeth. My brother in law is a dentist and advised me that it would be beneficial in keeping any future cavities from forming (He also did the sealants himself at no charge). However, he also told me that I needed to take better care of my teeth and do my best to cut out as much sugar as possible from my diet (Soda in my case). I took his advice (25 now) and I just had my first filling in 13 years last month. The reason they seal kids teeth primarily is so they don't lose all their teeth by the time they actually care enough to take care of them, but there are also medically valid reasons for the procedure. Unless you want to get multiple second opinions it will be tough to tell whether your wife truly needs them or not.

Ultimately, I think you would be better served spending your energy on finding a dentist that you can trust rather than having to second guess everything that he/she recommends. Dentists as a whole are VERY mustachian and if you don't trust her current dentist I am sure there is one in your area that will have your wife's best interests at heart.

The keys to good teeth are simple but not easy (very much like good health and fitness).
1. Brush morning and night (especially night)
2. Floss every night (not gonna happen, but do it as much as possible)
3. Limit your consumption of junk food and soda
4. Listerine morning and night (I don't think it is really necessary unless 1, 2 and 3 are not working or you are prone to periodontal disease)
5. Get your teeth cleaned every 6 months (Even if you do everything right, shit happens, catch a cavity with a $80 dollar cleaning before it becomes a $2000-$4000+ procedure)
Title: Re: Are dental sealants worth it?
Post by: Exflyboy on December 19, 2013, 07:09:50 PM
Are you kidding me?.. Dentists do this ALL the time.

Of course they are making a money grab.

Totally unecessary.. brush/floss.. get your teeth cleaned once per year unless they find problems.

My dentist told me once per year cleanings are usually good enough as long as your brushing and flossing

Title: Re: Are dental sealants worth it?
Post by: DougStache on December 20, 2013, 07:56:52 AM
Thanks for the input!  Just wanted to make sure I was being frugal and not a cheap-ass.  This dentist seems to do good work (I use her as well) and they are exceptionally friendly, it just seems they may try to over reach here and there.
Title: Re: Are dental sealants worth it?
Post by: BlueMR2 on December 20, 2013, 03:40:41 PM
Good to hear some opinions on that.  My old dentist was a once a year visit and didn't fix anything that wasn't broke.  Only 1 filling (and that was due to a chip, but ended up getting drilled out pretty big due to underlying damage).  He retired and sold me off to a new place which I get a random doc every time I'm there.

Since I've been there (3 years?) I've had my old dentist's filling re-done (I'm OK with that, it was silver which is prone to cause cracking, and now I've got white filling which is supposed to be better, but more on that later), another small cavity filled (seems legit, I was eating a lot of junk then), and 3 small spots lightly drilled and filled (basically they were little non-cavity pockets, the old dentist would always "hmmm" at them and pass them over, the new one really wanted to touch them up and it seemed reasonable to me).  Sealing has always been recommended at the new place, but I've passed it over.  They insist on 6 month checkups and lots of x-rays.  Not a fan of either of those, but I've been living with it.

I'm thinking about changing dentists now though.  Last night I had a checkup/cleaning that went pretty well until the end.  Then, new random doc tells me how he really wants to convince me to have my wisdom teeth pulled (a couple occlusions that don't bother me at all, have to grind my jaw sideways to make them hit), tells me I really should do sealant, and complains about the filling that they just did less than 3 years ago.  As I'm walking out they hand me a date for my next checkup (6 months) and a slip for my next "service".  Apparently he decided I *need* to have something done next month.  I don't know what, he never said.  Receptionist said she'd call with an estimate.  I went along so far since I'm curious to know what he wants to do that he didn't see fit to tell me about...  I'm betting sealant, not sure if it's worth it though.  On the fence about doing it if that's the case.  If he wants me to pay to redo the filling they just did, or pull those teeth, I'm definitely out of there and will be looking for a new dentist.