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Caring for Your Child's Teeth

Cavities and How To Prevent Them

Sealants

*This webpage is for information purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for professional dental advice.*

Fast Facts
  • Sealants are placed on the surface of molars.
  • Sealants help prevent cavities.
  • Your dentist can tell you if your child needs sealants.

A sealant is a plastic material that is placed on the chewing surface of children's molars.

A tooth without sealants A tooth with sealants

What sealants do

Sealants prevent cavities by helping to stop food and germs from getting trapped in the back teeth (molars). The back teeth have deep grooves called fissures. These grooves may trap food particles which may not be easy to clean out.

A tooth without sealants

Sealants will cover the deep grooves and prevent food from getting trapped in them. Thus, sealants help to keep permanent molars healthy.

A tooth with sealants

When to get sealants for your child

Your child can get sealants as soon as her permanent molars erupt. (Check the Permanent Teeth chart to see when adult teeth usually appear.) Talk to your dentist to see if your child needs sealants.

Baby’s first tooth

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Revised: June 20, 2011

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