Dental Sealants: How do they work?

Dental sealants are ultra thin protective coatings that are applied to the teeth’s chewing surfaces. Typically, they’re used on the back teeth — the molars and the pre-molars — to help keep the teeth healthy as a child grows. Dental sealant immediately moves into the tiny cracks and grooves of the teeth, creating a shield that can’t be penetrated by food and bacteria. Once on the teeth, your child won’t be able to tell any difference in how their teeth feel. The dental sealant is ultra thin and adheres seamlessly to the teeth. Dental sealants can do a better job of preventing tooth decay than even the most careful brushing and flossing can do alone. Of course, even with dental sealant applied it’s always important to maintain regular brushing and flossing at home.

How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

The application of dental sealants is a quick and easy process. In most cases, the whole process requires only a single short visit, and it will be pain-free for your child. Before the dental sealant can be applied, a complete teeth cleaning must be done. This gives the sealant the best (and healthiest) surface to adhere to.

Once the teeth are cleaned, they are completely dried. Cotton will be placed in the area around each tooth to help keep the teeth dry during the sealant application.  Next, a special solution is applied to the teeth’s chewing surfaces. This solution makes the surface of the teeth slightly rougher and better able to bond with the sealant.


Finally, the sealant is painted onto each tooth. It will quickly bond to the tooth enamel and will then harden. A curing light may also be used to help ensure good sealant bonding. Once this is complete, your child can go home and resume their regular routine. The dentist may give you some precautionary aftercare guidelines, but in most cases your child can eat and drink normally after having dental sealants applied.

Is Any Special Preparation Needed Prior to Getting Dental Sealants?

No, there’s no special preparation required to get dental sealants. The dentist may recommend that dental sealants are applied in the same appointment as a regular check-up, or they may be applied at a separate appointment. Simply have your child brush and floss in the usual way prior to getting dental sealants.

At What Age Should a Child Get Dental Sealants?

In most cases, the dentist may recommend that dental sealants are applied on pre-molars and molars when they emerge. Dental sealants are especially useful for the age group between 6 and 13, as these can be the years when children may not be especially vigilant about their oral health. The dentists at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida are happy to evaluate your child to determine if they need dental sealants and what age would be best to apply them.

What is the Lifespan of Dental Sealants?

The lifespan of dental sealants can vary, but in most cases they can last for anywhere from three years up to a full decade. It’s very important that children who have dental sealants continue to see the dentist at the recommended intervals (usually twice a year.) During regular check-ups, the dentist can look for any sealant problems such as chipping. If needed, the dental sealants can be replaced so that teeth continue to have the protection required to prevent decay.

Will Insurance Cover Dental Sealants?

This can vary from one insurance provider to another, but many insurers do cover dental sealants for children today. Dental sealants are often classified as preventive dentistry. In the long run, having dental sealants can prevent tooth decay — and the costly dental care that could come along with that. Therefore, many insurers may see dental sealants as a good investment.


Looking for a new pediatric dentist for your child, or need to schedule your child’s first dental appointment? The team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is highly dedicated to giving gentle and enthusiastic dental care to their young patients while providing the support families need. Call anytime to arrange an appointment.