What Are Dental Sealants and How Long Do They Last?

A young girl sitting in the dentist's chair

If left untreated, cavities can lead to infection and cause pain and problems eating and speaking.

As a result, children may experience difficulty focusing and learning.

One of the most effective treatments to protect children’s teeth from cavities is tooth sealants.

Tooth sealants are thin gel coatings. Typically applied to rear teeth, sealants protect chewing surfaces from cavities by covering them with a thin layer of protection.

One of the first questions a parent may have about tooth sealants is, how long do tooth sealants last after being applied?

Additional questions about tooth sealants often follow.

We have prepared the following questions and answers to help you make the best choices for your child.

How long do tooth sealants last?

Sealants have been shown to still be effective ten years after their application.

Sometimes they fall off, so Dr. Wilkerson should check them regularly. Missing sealants are easy to replace.

Is sealing a tooth better than filling a cavity?

Yes. A cavity-free tooth is healthier and stronger than a tooth with cavities or fillings.
Sealants are quick and easier to apply than fillings, pain-free, and less expensive.

Visit the best pediatric dentist in Charleston, WV, to learn more about this procedure.

Does tooth sealant hurt when applied?

No pain is felt during the application process. The tooth is merely cleaned, the gel is applied, and a light is shone on the tooth to harden the gel.

How early should I have sealants put on my child’s teeth?

Sealants are most effective when applied soon after permanent molars grow.

Our first molars grow when a child is between 6 and 7 years old, and the 2nd when they are between 12 and 13 years old.

Will the sealant be noticeable in my child’s mouth?

Sealants are virtually unnoticeable when a child smiles or talks. Sealants can be white, transparent, or slightly tinted.

Do teeth treated with dental sealants require special care?

No. But proper care is vital to keep all teeth healthy.

Be sure to brush twice a day, and floss daily.

A soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended.

What foods should be avoided?

Some dentists will recommend avoiding candies and ice after tooth sealant is applied.

Similarly, sticky foods such as caramels and gummy candy should be avoided, as they can stick to sealant and pull it off.

Does insurance cover the cost of sealants?

Most insurance will cover the cost of dental sealants but typically only for patients younger than 18.

If you want more information about dental sealants, head to our site or book an appointment today.


I find it truly rewarding to make a real impact on the lives of families in our community here in Charleston, WV. My office happily serves our surrounding areas, including Beckley, Lewisburg, Parkersburg, & Huntington.

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