Sealants VS Fluoride Treatment: Cost-Effectiveness and Potential Risks

Even though dentistry has advanced over the last few decades, and we enjoy better dental care that those before us, tooth decay is still a major issue—not just among adults, but children as well.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults aged 20–64 have experienced tooth decay in their permanent teeth. 42% of children from the ages of 2–11 experience dental caries in their primary teeth.
Preventative treatment options combat these issues. The main ones include pit/fissure sealants and fluoride varnishes. Here’s a comparison between the two:

Fluoride Varnish Treatment

During a professional treatment, a gel or varnish with a high concentration of fluoride is applied. The application may only take a few minutes and you may be asked not to eat anything for a couple of minutes after the procedure.

Fluoride is beneficial for adults and children alike. Studies show that being introduced to fluoride earlier on in life allows children to be less likely to develop cavities. Patients who were treated with fluoride were 43% less likely to suffer from tooth decay.

Potential Risks

Children who are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride, while their teeth are still developing, can be at risk of developing dental fluorosis. While this is not detrimental to their health, it can leave marks of discoloration on the enamel. The discoloration may also result as a result of over-brushing with fluoride toothpaste.


The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients only need to get such treatments every 3–6 months. When it comes to the cost, fluoride treatments for children are usually fully covered by your insurance. However, adults may have to pay $10–20.

Pit and Fissure Sealants

This is a safe and easy way of protecting the patient from tooth decay. It essentially involves applying a plastic coating to the back teeth. The plastic acts as a protective layer and prevents food debris from getting into tiny grooves.

Because the process is so straightforward, it should not take more than a few minutes per tooth. The results can last for several years and should be applied as soon as the set of permanent teeth grow out.

Potential Risks

Sealants are a common addition to long-term oral care. You don’t have to be concerned about the potential health risks of sealants since there aren’t any.


Sealants usually cost between $30–60 per tooth. According to a study, the procedure reduces subsequent treatments; this outweighs the higher cost. Having protected your teeth will mean you won’t have to spend money on root canals and crowns. These treatments last for a couple of years, which means you’ll only have to invest once in a while.

If you’re seeking dental care in Germantown, visit Advanced Dental Center to receive dental care. We specialize in sealants and fluoride treatments as well as periodontal maintenance for children and adults.

Call us at (301) 353-8890 for appointments.