Do Dental Sealants Work?

Do Dental Sealants Work?

Dental sealants are a simple dental coating that has been gaining popularity as more people look to preventative oral health solutions. A dental sealant can serve as a protective barrier between your tooth or teeth and the foods you eat. But what exactly is a dental sealant, and do dental sealants really work?

Read on to learn how a dental sealant treatment can help you and your family.

What is a dental sealant?

Dental sealants are developed by your dental professional and designed to act as a protective coating for a tooth. A sealant is a thin strip made from dental materials or plastic that’s applied to the chewing surface of a back tooth or teeth. The idea is to prevent stain-prone teeth from developing future decay.

Though no substitution for brushing and flossing your teeth, dental sealants can help prevent painful and costly cavities from forming. Sealants protect hard-to-brush spaces on your teeth by sealing out the decay that forms from acids made by leftover food particles and bacteria.

Who should consider dental sealants?

Dental sealants can be placed on people of all ages. It’s a popular choice for parents who want to safeguard their children’s developing teeth from forming cavities. Molars develop between the ages of six and 12 in most children. To keep your child cavity-free from the start, you may consider having their new molars sealed once they come in during these years of peak molar development.

But again, dental sealants can be effective for adults as well. If you find that you have a specific molar that tends to be affected by decay, a dental sealant can be used at the site. This can help prevent you from having to suffer further decay.

How are sealants applied?

Applying a dental sealant is a simple and straightforward procedure that takes only minutes to complete.

Here is how the procedure goes, step by step:

  • First, your dentist will brush and dry the tooth
  • Then, they will apply a gel with a high acid content that roughens the surface of the tooth
  • Your dentist will wash this gel away after mere seconds
  • Next, the sealant is attached to the now-roughened tooth surface and a strong bond is formed
  • Finally, your dentist will use a blue light to harden the sealant and strengthen the bond quickly

Since placing a dental sealant is completely non-invasive, you can get right back to your day after your appointment concludes.

How durable are dental sealants?

Because they are made of dental materials and plastic, they form a strong barrier and are well suited for most lifestyles.

Your dentist will check on the condition of your sealant during your routine dental appointments to ensure it’s intact.

The only reason your dental sealant may not go the distance is typically due to personal choices. For example, dental sealants can become chipped or worn if you tend to munch on dangerously crunchy foods or foods with high acidic content. For this reason, it’s best to be mindful of what you consume, especially right after a dental sealant is placed.

Biting down on popcorn kernels should always be a no-no anyway!

Are dental sealants painful?

Not at all! Putting a dental sealant in place is one of the easiest procedures you can have done at the dentist, and is a pain-free experience for most patients.

The only issue that may cause a tiny bit of pain or discomfort is if you already have decay or a cavity on the tooth you’re about to get sealed. It’s natural for these areas to feel uncomfortable when any type of pressure is applied there.

If the tooth you’re getting sealed feels sensitive, inform your dentist beforehand so they can be sure to be extra gentle when applying the sealant.

How successful are dental sealants?

There have been many studies done that have shown that dental sealants do in fact work.

For example, several studies have shown that children with sealants are three times less likely to have cavities than those without sealants.

Also, a study by the CDC noted that dental sealants prevented 80% of cavities for the first two years after being applied, and 50% for up to four years. We at O’Connor Dental Care think those statistics are pretty great, especially considering the commonality of cavities in the first place!

Can I get dental sealants at O’Connor Dental Care?

You absolutely can! We implant dental sealants regularly at our office, and it’s one of our most popular preventative and periodontal procedures.

We will walk you through the process and make sure you understand the ins and outs of this simple and non-invasive procedure. We will also educate you on how to care for your dental sealant after it has been placed.

If you wish to talk to us more about the possibility of having a dental sealant implanted for yourself or your child, please reach out. You can call us at (859) 441-0033 during our weekday office hours. You can also make an appointment to speak to a dental professional through our handy appointment request portal for your convenience.


I’ve been a patient with O’Connor Dentistry for 40 years and I have recommended them to so many people.

Alicia W

Helpful with questions and my teeth are being cared for over the years with the peace of mind by professionals!

Jane H

Best dental practice around! The entire staff is amazing and personable. Couldn’t recommend them more.

Amanda G