Sealants: What Are They and What Do They Do?


You may have heard about dental sealants, or had your dentist recommend them for you or your child. But what are they? What do they do? And who should use them?

Dental sealant is a thin coating that is applied to the chewing surface of the teeth to prevent tooth decay. This sealant is typically painted onto the molars and premolars in the back of the mouth, where it quickly fills in the grooves and depressions on the surface of the teeth. It hardens, forming a protective shield over the tooth enamel.

Proper dental care (daily brushing and flossing) can go a long way to preventing cavities and tooth decay, but they are not always able to protect and clean the tiniest nooks and cracks of the teeth, especially in the back of the mouth. Sealant is applied to defend against tooth decay by sealing food and plaque out of these hard-to-reach areas.

Sealants are typically recommended to children and teens, and to adults without any decay or fillings in their molars. Sealants must be applied to teeth that have not developed any decay, therefore they are typically recommended to children as soon as their permanent molars and premolars come in, effectively protecting them during the years when cavities become a problem (ages six to fourteen.)

Sealants are not a new concept, but they’re becoming increasingly popular due to their efficiency in preventing decay, especially in children and teens. Since kids are typically not very thorough brushers to begin with, and the chewing surfaces in the back teeth are especially rough, with uneven surfaces, a sealant can help keep food from getting trapped in hard-to-reach places and make brushing smoother.

To learn more about sealants and preventative care, visit

Dr. Richard Murdoch helps to keep patients in Glendale and Centennial, CO in excellent oral health.

May 4, 2018