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How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

by | Apr 14, 2022

Dental sealants are a non-invasive and preventive dental treatment that can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Although cavities in children may seem inevitable, sealants work by sealing the tooth, effectively preventing cavity-causing bacteria from touching the tooth.

This means you can prevent your child from getting cavities by sealing their teeth! Before you get your child’s teeth sealed, it’s important to know how long the sealants will last. Having this information can help you determine when it’s time to get your child’s sealants re-applied.

More Information About Dental Sealants

If you’ve ever applied clear nail polish to your nails, then you have some idea about how dental sealants work. Dental sealants are not that different from a very long-lasting, very strong clear nail polish!

Are All Dental Sealants Clear?

Dental sealants can be clear, tinted or white colored. Your child’s dentist will likely not apply the dental sealants in a location where they will be obvious, so you don’t have to worry about the appearance of dental sealants on your child’s teeth.

Are Dental Sealants Safe?

Parents often ask whether their child’s dental sealants are safe. This is a good question to ask! Sealants are made of plastic, and contain traces of synthetic compounds. They will fall off with time, but generally last for several years. Pieces of sealants may fall off over a very long period, so the exposure to dental sealants is minimal. The American Dental Association has determined that dental sealants are safe for children.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can remain on teeth for up to 9 years, but they do lose effectiveness over time. It’s believed that chewing wears down the sealant, so many dentists recommend re-applying sealant every 2 to 4 years, even though some sealants can last much longer. This helps ensure that the teeth are thoroughly protected even if portions of the old sealant wear off over time.

Extend The Lifespan of Dental Sealants

That said, there are things that your child can do to extend the lifespan of their dental sealants. Chewing on ice and hard candy can wear down sealants. If your child has a habit of chewing ice or hard candy, teach them not to do so. Sucking on ice and hard candy does far less damage.

Nail-biting can also be bad for your child’s dental sealants. If your child is a nail-biter, consider breaking them of the habit before having the dental sealants installed.

Finally, encourage good oral hygiene. If your child is younger than seven or eight, brush their teeth for them. Teach your child to brush their teeth twice per day, and to floss once daily. By instilling these habits in your child, you can teach your child to maintain good oral hygiene from an early age. This can help your child into adulthood!

Let your child know that sealants will last longer if they brush and floss, so your child will understand clearly the reason they must maintain good oral hygiene. They’ll know how important it is if they’ve ever had a cavity – because they won’t want to have a cavity again!

See The Dentist Regularly

It’s easy to think you or your child can skip trips to the dentist if they have dental sealants. Although sealants can protect your child from cavities, sealants are not a silver bullet. Maintaining good oral hygiene by seeing the dentist will help ensure that your child has fresh breath, a beautiful smile and healthy teeth.

Is It Better to Get Sealants or Fill Cavities?

Since fillings are available to block cavities, some parents ask if their child really needs sealants. Can’t they just treat a cavity when it develops?

Sealants are a less expensive treatment than fillings. Sealants are also less painful than cavities, and it’s always better to prevent a cavity from forming. Cavities can weaken the structure of your child’s tooth.

Triangle Dentistry Raleigh

At Raleigh’s Family dentistry office, we welcome new patients. We’re ready to help you and your child enjoy a perfect smile. We service patients from toddlerhood through adulthood, so call today to make an appointment.


Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000