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Office of Oral Health

Arizona School-Based Sealant Program

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are tooth colored coatings that are painted on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants block food and decay-causing bacteria from entering the narrow grooves of the teeth where decay is most likely to occur.

While dental sealants have repeatedly been shown to reduce tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, recent studies show only 47% of third-grade school children in Arizona have one or more sealants on their permanent teeth.

Dental Sealants in School-based Programs

The Arizona Department of Health Services promotes the use of sealants by providing grant funds to support school-based sealant programs and by sharing the most current recommendations on the use of sealants.

These programs are targeted to schools with a high percentage of enrolled students eligible for the state's Free and Reduced Price Meals Program. These programs are located in rural and urban areas where children have limited access to dental care.

Following an assessment by a dentist, teams of dental hygienists and dental assistants place sealants on children's teeth. Children are checked for other oral health problems and parents are notified that follow-up care is needed.


  • Before Sealant: food and bacteria become trapped in grooves and pits.

  • After Sealant: grooves and pits are sealed and protected from food and bacteria.

Resources for School-based Sealant Programs

The Use of Dental Sealants in Clinical Settings