Dental Sealants For Children’s Permanent Molars

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of children’s permanent molars. This preventative treatment can reduce decay and save money in the long run.


During the procedure, the tooth surface to be sealed is cleaned and dried. Then, an acidic gel is placed on the surface for a few seconds. This roughens the tooth’s surface and helps the sealant bond.

Prevents tooth decay

Dental sealants prevent tooth decay by creating a thin, protective coating over the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. This slick plastic keeps food particles and germs from clinging to these rough, hard-to-reach back teeth, where cavities most often start. This preventative treatment is particularly important for children who have not yet erupted their permanent molars, as well as those who tend to eat sticky or crunchy foods such as candy, pretzels, chips and fruit snacks.

Tooth decay starts when sugar and bacteria collect in the tiny pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of molars. These pits and fissures are difficult for toothbrush bristles to clean, so they can harbor plaque that eventually erodes tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing help reduce the risk of cavities, but preventing decay in these tiny crevices is more effective than treating it. The application process is quick, easy and painless. First, the dentist or hygienist thoroughly cleans and dries each tooth to be sealed. Then a liquid sealant is applied to the surface of the tooth and a curing light is used to harden it.

Prevents gum disease

The chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth (molars) are rough and uneven, with pits and grooves that can trap food and germs. Tooth decay begins in these grooves, which toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on the tooth’s surface, creating a protective barrier.

With sealants, brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay. The process of getting sealants is quick and painless, and it’s recommended that children get them on their permanent molars as soon as they come in, which is around age six for the first molars and age 12 for the second molars.

Dental sealants are one of the best preventive measures that can be taken to fight tooth decay, along with daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and regular dental visits and cleanings. If your child does develop a cavity, it’s important to act fast and schedule an appointment with us right away. We’ll clean the tooth and apply a filling before the damage spreads.

Prevents stains

Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria, plaque, food debris and acid from accumulating in the pits and grooves of teeth. These are the most cavity-prone areas of the tooth, so it is vital to have this preventive measure in place as soon as permanent teeth begin erupting.

Before applying a dental sealant, your dentist will remove any accumulated plaque and dry the tooth. A mild etching solution may then be used to roughen up the chewing surfaces, which allows the sealant to bond and harden better. After this, the tooth is rinsed and dried again before the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface.

The plastic resin material of the sealant fills in the pits and grooves, forming a smooth surface that is more resistant to stains. It takes just a minute for the sealant to set, and it requires no numbing. Sealants are typically applied to the molars and pre-molars but can also be placed on the front teeth, especially for cosmetic reasons.

Prevents tooth discoloration

Even if you brush and floss daily, those tiny pits and grooves in the back teeth may trap food particles and encourage bacterial plaque to build up. Sealants provide a protective barrier that smooths these areas, making it more difficult for food debris to be trapped and eventually lead to cavities and decay.

Dental sealants are most often used in children to protect their newly-erupted molars, but adults who have high risk for tooth decay can also benefit from this preventive treatment. Since cavity-prone back teeth break through from the molars at about six years old, it’s best to get dental sealants on those molars as soon as they appear.

The process to apply a dental sealant is quick and pain-free, without the need for numbing. The liquid resin is painted onto the tooth and then cured using a special curing light. Some sealants are made of glass ionomer cement (GIC) which releases fluoride, and others are made from composite resin. Although some recent reports have linked trace amounts of BPA, which is found in some plastics, with behavioral problems in kids, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association continue to recommend dental sealants for their safety and effectiveness.

Prevents sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be a painful and distressing condition. It occurs when the enamel of your teeth wears away, exposing the dentin that hides your nerves. This can happen due to enamel degradation, gum recession, and other issues. It can cause a sharp pain when you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet, or acidic.

Dental sealants help to prevent tooth sensitivity by coating the chewing surfaces of your teeth. They are usually applied to kids’ molars but can also be used on adults’ teeth with deep grooves and depressions.

A dentist or hygienist will clean the surface of each tooth to be sealed and then remove any plaque or food particles from it. The chewing surface of each tooth is then etched, which helps the sealant to bond with it better. The teeth are rinsed and dried before the sealant is painted on in liquid form and cured with a curing light.

Sealants can last for years but will need to be checked regularly for damage or cracking. It’s important to have your child see a dentist every six months to ensure that the sealants are still intact.