What are sealants?

  • A protective plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth or molars to prevent cavities.
  • Sealants are tooth colored and are not easily noticeable.
  • Sealants are painted on as a liquid and quickly harden to form a shield over the tooth.

 

How are sealants applied?

Sealants are a quick, easy and painless procedure. No shots or drills are used. A Dental Hygienist first cleans and prepares the tooth's chewing surface, and then the sealant is painted on the prepared surface and hardened with an ultraviolet light.

A Dental Hygienist paints the sealant
material into the grooves and pits to
form a protective barrier on the tooth.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants can last up to ten years with proper care. Proper care includes regular brushing, flossing and a healthy diet. Most important are regular dental check-ups to make sure your sealants are not chipped or worn away. If needed, sealants can be repaired by a Dental Hygienist by adding more sealant material.

How do sealants help prevent tooth decay?

As a back tooth or molar grows, grooves and pits form on the chewing surfaces. These areas can trap food and bacteria and begin to decay. Sealants block cavity-causing bacteria from invading the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth.

Grooves and pits are found on the
chewing surface of the back teeth. This
area is most common for childhood decay.



Who should get sealants?

Sealants work best on newly erupted back molars. A child should be considered for sealants when the molars appear. These are permanent teeth and will not grow back if they are lost to tooth decay.

  • Sealants may not be appropriate for teeth with decay, fillings or shallow grooves.

 

How much do sealants cost?

Generally, in a dental office placing one dental sealant can cost far less than filling one cavity. By taking part in the Sealants for Smiles® program your child can receive sealants at no cost to you or your school.