The Benefits of Dental Sealants for Preventing Cavities

Dental Sealants

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Dental cavities are a common problem among both children and adults, and they can lead to a range of dental health issues if left untreated. While regular brushing and flossing are important for preventing cavities, dental sealants are another effective method of protecting teeth from decay. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of dental sealants and how they can help prevent cavities.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a type of thin plastic coating that are applied to the surface of the teeth, typically to the molars and premolars. These teeth have deep grooves and fissures that can be difficult to clean with a toothbrush, which makes them more susceptible to decay. Dental sealants act as a protective barrier that prevents bacteria and food particles from getting stuck in these grooves, which reduces the risk of cavities.

How do dental sealants prevent cavities?

Dental sealants work by sealing off the deep grooves and fissures on the surface of the teeth, making it more difficult for bacteria and food particles to become trapped there. Because these areas are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, even with regular brushing and flossing, they are particularly vulnerable to decay. By applying a dental sealant, the surface of the tooth is smoothed out, making it easier to keep clean and reducing the risk of cavities.

Who can benefit from dental sealants?

Dental sealants are typically recommended for children and teenagers, as they are most at risk for developing cavities in their permanent teeth. However, adults who are prone to cavities may also benefit from dental sealants. In particular, individuals with deep grooves and fissures in their teeth or a history of cavities may be good candidates for dental sealants.

The application process for dental sealants

The application process for dental sealants is quick, easy, and painless. The teeth that will be sealed are first thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then a special gel is applied to the surface of the teeth to help the sealant adhere. The sealant is then applied to the teeth and cured using a special light to harden it. The entire process typically takes only a few minutes per tooth, and there is no need for any anesthesia.

How long do dental sealants last?

Dental sealants can last for many years, and they are a highly effective method of preventing cavities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants can reduce the risk of cavities by up to 80% for the first two years after they are applied, and up to 50% for up to four years after application. However, the lifespan of dental sealants can vary depending on factors such as oral hygiene habits, the type of sealant used, and the amount of wear and tear on the teeth.

Dental sealants and oral hygiene

While dental sealants can be highly effective at preventing cavities, they are not a substitute for good oral hygiene habits. Regular brushing and flossing are still essential for maintaining good dental health, and dental sealants should be used in conjunction with these habits, not as a replacement.

However, dental sealants can provide an additional layer of protection against cavities, particularly in those hard-to-reach areas of the mouth that are difficult to clean with brushing and flossing alone.

Another benefit of dental sealants is their longevity. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental sealants can last for up to 10 years with proper care. This means that once a sealant is applied, it can provide protection against cavities for a significant amount of time, reducing the need for additional dental work in the future.

Furthermore, dental sealants can be a cost-effective way to prevent cavities. The cost of applying dental sealants is typically much lower than the cost of treating cavities, and many insurance plans cover the cost of sealants for children.


Do Sealants Fix Cavities?

While dental sealants can help prevent cavities, they are not a treatment for cavities that have already formed. If a cavity is detected during a dental exam, it will need to be treated with a filling or another appropriate procedure.


How Do Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities?

Dental sealants work by creating a physical barrier between the tooth surface and the bacteria that cause cavities. The sealant material is typically made of a plastic resin that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, which are the most vulnerable to cavities.

The sealant material is applied in a liquid form and then hardened with a special light. This creates a smooth, protective coating over the tooth surface that can prevent bacteria and food particles from getting trapped in the grooves and pits of the tooth.

Once the sealant is in place, it is important to continue with good dental hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing regularly, to maintain the integrity of the sealant and ensure long-lasting protection against cavities.



Dental sealants can be a valuable tool for preventing cavities, particularly in children and teenagers who are at higher risk for tooth decay. They are safe, effective, and long-lasting, and can provide an additional layer of protection against cavities that can help reduce the need for additional dental work in the future.

While dental sealants are not a replacement for regular brushing and flossing, they can be a cost-effective way to prevent cavities and maintain good dental health. If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants or think you or your child may benefit from this treatment, talk to your dentist to see if it is right for you.



American Dental Association: Sealants – https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/sealants

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Dental Sealants – https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/dental_sealant_program/index.htm

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: Dental Sealants – https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/dental-sealants

Journal of the American Dental Association: Effectiveness of Pit-and-Fissure Sealants – https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)64937-3/fulltext

Journal of Dental Research: Longevity of Sealants – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022034520917944