Maine Oral Health Program
Dental Sealants help prevent tooth decay
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating put on the chewing surface of the back teeth (molars). The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are rough and uneven with small pits and grooves. A toothbrush can’t reach into these pits to brush away the food and germs that get trapped there. Sealants fill the pits and grooves and make the surfaces smooth. They keep out the foods and germs that cause decay. Once decay starts in a tooth, it has to be cleaned out by drilling. Then the tooth has to be filled. A sealant is put on a tooth before decay ever starts. Sealants have been proven to be nearly 100% effective at preventing cavities.
Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in
The first permanent molars usually come in when a child is between the ages of 5 and 7. The second permanent molars usually come in between the ages of 11 and 14. Other teeth with pits and grooves might need sealants. Sealants can last up to 10 years without resealing.