PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to compare the microleakage of a self-etching sealant with a traditional phosphoric acid-etched sealant under noncontaminated and saliva-contaminated conditions. METHODS Fifty-two sound extracted human molars were randomly divided into 4 groups (N=13). Teeth in Groups 1 and 2 were cleaned with pumice, etched with phosphoric acid, rinsed, coated with a drying agent, placed with sealants (UltraSeal XT Plus), and light cured. Teeth in Groups 3 and 4 were cleaned with a proprietary flour pumice and rinsed prior to being sealed with a self-etching sealant (Enamel Loc). Teeth in Groups 2 and 4 were contaminated with saliva and thoroughly air-dried prior to the sealant placement. All teeth were subjected to a thermocycling process, stained with silver nitrate, and sectioned, and images of the sealant on the occlusal surface were recorded. Microleakage distance was measured in millimeters and subjected to a 2-way analysis of variance. RESULTS Significantly larger microleakage distances were found for the self-etching sealant vs the traditional sealant (P<.001). Saliva contamination did not significantly affect the microleakage distance (P<.17). CONCLUSIONS Under the conditions used in this in vitro study, the self-etching sealant, regardless of contamination condition, had extensive microleakage distances vs. little microleakage in the traditional phosphoric acid-etched sealant.