Dental Sealants

child at dentist's office in dental chair

Sealants help prevent cavities in hard-to-brush teeth like molars. The tight nooks and crannies in these teeth are bacteria traps, and often fall prey to cavities. Sealants are thin coatings that are painted onto the teeth to help protect the enamel. This helps to ease children’s oral hygiene and prevent decay.

How do dental sealants work?

Dental sealants are made of a liquid plastic material. They are applied to specific teeth to create a protective coating. This coating helps prevent acids caused by oral bacteria from creating cavities.

Receiving sealants is quick and comfortable.

  1. The tooth is cleaned and dried
  2. A gel is placed on the tooth to roughen the surface, which creates a better bonding area for the sealant
  3. The tooth is rinsed and dried
  4. Sealant is painted onto the tooth, where it bonds with the enamel
  5. The sealant is quickly hardened with a curing light

Sealant Statistics

Studies have shown sealants to accomplish all of the following:

  • Reduce the risk of decay in molars (where most cavities occur) by nearly 80%
  • Protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years, and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years
  • Reduce the need for fillings or crowns to help children avoid discomfort and dental anxiety

Does my child need sealants?

Sealants are recommended for all children. The first molars typically appear by age 6, and second molars by age 12. These teeth should be sealed as soon as they erupt for comprehensive cavity protection. This will ultimately save time, money and potential discomfort due to the need for fillings or crowns.

Most dental insurance plans cover sealants for patients under 18.

Even with sealants, brushing and flossing are crucial, but these coatings are an extra ally in the fight against tooth decay.

How often do sealants need to be replaced?

Sealants typically last several years before needing to be reapplied. Dr. Hester will check your children’s molars at their routine exams to ensure the sealants are in good condition, and reapply as needed.

If you have any questions about sealants, get in touch to learn more from our team.