Regular brushing and flossing provide the best defense against cavities; but the nooks and crannies of back teeth (molars) can be difficult to clean. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting tooth enamel from plaque and acids that can cause decay, especially during cavity-prone years.

Why are dental sealants recommended for some children?
Brushing and flossing back teeth that we use to chew is more difficult.
Molars are rough and uneven, which makes them the ideal hideout for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria.
Sealants provide protection against cavities.

When should dental sealants be applied?
The most cavity-prone years are ages 6 to 14 when permanent teeth push out baby teeth.
(This is also when parents have less control of their child`s diet and oral hygiene habits.)
Dental sealants prevent the most cavities when applied soon after permanent molars come in. This is about age 6 for first molars, and age 12 for second molars.
Sealants can be applied to baby teeth or permanent teeth.

How effective are sealants?
According to the CDC, once applied, dental sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities up to four years.
The same report suggests that children ages 6 to 11 years old without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children without sealants.

What are the signs that dental sealants are needed?
Dental sealants are most beneficial when applied BEFORE cavities occur. However, they are usually recommended for the following:
Narrow grooves and fissures on newly erupted permanent back teeth (molars).
Staining in the grooves and fissures
Decay in one of the first permanent molars.
Special needs children
Extensive decay in baby teeth

What about using sealants on existing cavities?
Research has shown that sealants can sometimes prevent an existing cavity from becoming bigger.
Studies also show that dental sealants can be used to treat early signs of tooth decay before a cavity forms.

How long do sealants last?
Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply as needed.