Protected by a dental sealant, cavities are no match. Dental sealants make me feel strong enough to fight back tooth decay!


What are dental sealants?
Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants are put on in dentists' offices, clinics, and sometimes in schools. Getting sealants put on is simple and painless. Sealants are painted on as a liquid and quickly harden to form a shield over the tooth.

Why get sealants?
The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. Fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth but back teeth need extra protection. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and keep out germs and food. Having sealants put on teeth before they decay will also save time and money in the long run by avoiding fillings, crowns, or caps used to fix decayed teeth.

What causes tooth decay?
Germs in the mouth use the sugar in food to make acids. Over time, the acids can make a cavity in the tooth. Of course a healthy tooth is the best tooth. So it is important to prevent decay. That's why sealants are so important.

Who should get sealants?
Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in—before decay attacks the teeth.

The first permanent molars—called "6-year molars"—come in between the ages of 5 and 7 years old.

The second permanent molars—"12-year molars"—come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old.

Other teeth with pits and grooves also might need to be sealed. Teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay may also need sealants.

See the resources listed for additional information.

Click here to view the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's letter to dental professionals.

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bookletFor more information about dental sealants, download a copy of the National Institutes of Health's Seal Out Tooth Decay booklet.


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guideTo find affordable and appropriate dental care services in Maryland and the surrounding regions, download a copy of The Maryland Oral Health Resource Guide.

View Guide

MSDA  Web SiteVisit the Maryland State Dental Association's Web site for information on finding a local, private dentist.

Click here to visit the MSDA site.


Contact the School of Dentistry