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All about sealants
Common questions and answers about sealants


Questions and answers about sealants

What are sealants, or molar sealants?

Molar sealants are clear, protective coatings– “seals”– put on permanent first and second molars (back teeth) to help keep them healthy and protected from cavities. Sealants are painted on your child’s back teeth. They are quick and painless to apply. The whole process only takes a matter of minutes.

When should my child get molar sealants, and who can provide them?

You should schedule an appointment with your dentist for your child to get molar sealants when their permanent back teeth have grown in. This happens as early as five years old, but usually around 6-7 years old. Some schools have sealant programs where dental professionals will provide screenings and sealants right there at your child’s school. Contact your child’s school to see if they provide this service.

What are the benefits of sealants?

School-age children (ages 6-11) with sealants have almost 3 times less molar cavities than those without sealants! The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves on the surfaces of the molar teeth and acts like a barrier, protecting the teeth from bacteria and bits of food that can cause cavities and tooth decay.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants can last for several years. Ask your dentist when your child 
should get sealants reapplied. 

Are sealants covered by Health Plan of San Mateo Dental? 

Yes! HPSM Dental covers molar sealants (1 per tooth every 3 years) for children and teens ages 0-20 years old. Click here for more information about this benefit.

Will sealants replace fluoride?

No. Both sealants and fluoride are needed to protect teeth from cavities and tooth decay.