Sealants are used to protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from decay.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are materials put on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth by a dental professional. The sealant bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth to protect them from the acids that cause tooth decay and cavities. Sealants are less expensive than fillings and usually last several years.

How do Dental Sealants Work?

Sealants act by forming a barrier between the tooth surface and the rest of your mouth. They prevent food from getting lodged in the grooves and crevices on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This reduces your chances of getting a cavity.

How are Dental Sealants Put On?

To put on a sealant, a dental professional will first clean and dry the teeth and surrounding areas. Then they will apply a glue that allows the sealant to stick to your teeth. After about a minute, he or she will rinse off the excess glue, dry your teeth again, and put on the sealant using a small paintbrush.

One type of sealant hardens very quickly through the use of a bright light. The other hardens more gradually without the light.

Sealants wear down over a period of years. Your dentist will check them regularly and reapply them as needed.

How Effective are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are very effective at preventing tooth decay and have been used successfully for many years. Studies show that children who get sealants in school programs have a 60% decrease in tooth decay. Although sealants are most often recommended for children and teens, adults can use them, too.