How do Dental Sealants Work?

Posted on: November 16, 2018

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is great, but dental sealants may just be the perfect solution for preventing tooth decay. Although you may do your best, your toothbrush may not be able to clean out food particles stuck inside tiny spaces in between your teeth. Dental sealants seal these spaces and keep the food particles out.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are put on the chewing part of the teeth to help prevent tooth decay. The sealants are usually placed on the chewing surface of molars and premolars since these get more action when it comes to chewing food. 

A report by the center of disease control (CDC) has talked up the benefits of having dental sealants, especially for children. Getting kids to brush their teeth and floss before bed can be an arduous task, but dental sealants may save you the trouble by keeping your kids' teeth healthy.

Premolars and molars are specifically targeted for the dental sealant procedure since they are more vulnerable to decay. Premolars and molars have deep fissures that are narrow and very difficult to clean making them more prone to decay. The sealants bond into the depressions and fissures of these teeth, forming a protective sheath over them.

The dental sealant process

Fluoride from toothpaste may be a great ally in protecting against tooth decay, but dental sealants provide that extra protection especially for premolars and molars. Applying dental sealants is a quite simple and painless procedure which will only take your dentist a few minutes. The following steps are followed when applying the sealant:

Teeth cleaning

Before the process begins, the dentist will first do a thorough cleaning of your teeth. This will ensure that no food particles are sealed in as the sealant is applied. Cleaning the teeth to begin the procedure removes any unnecessary bacteria or plaque. 


After the cleaning process is complete, the dentist will then dry your teeth by having you bite on a piece of cotton or another absorbent that will keep your teeth dry. Having dry teeth is crucial so that the sealant will stick properly. 

Acid solution application

An acid solution will then be applied on the chewing surfaces of your teeth in order to roughen the teeth up and help the sealant bond with the tooth surface.


After the dentist is positive that the solution is well applied, he or she will then rinse your teeth and then have you bite on an absorbent in order to dry them. Rinsing will remove any glues or particles from the sealant solution. 

Dental sealant application

After the teeth have been dried, the dental sealant is then applied to the tooth enamel. The sealant bonds with the tooth and hardens after a few minutes. The dentist may at times use a special curing light to hasten the hardening process. Once the sealants are well bonded with your teeth, you can consider yourself well protected from cavities.


Whether considering sealants for yourself or for your children, they ensure that cavities and decay are at a minimum. The dental sealant process is simple, pain-free and provides nothing but benefits to your oral health. 

Request an appointment here: or call Anthony Dental Services at (256) 355-0199 for an appointment in our Decatur office.

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