Current research: sealants recommended only for apparently noncarious teeth

April 19, 2011
There has been much confusion about when to seal a tooth with a sealant material. Dr. Gordon Christensen speaks definitively on the subject and cites scientific literature for a solid recommendation.

By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

There has been significant confusion about when to seal a tooth with a sealant material. Originally, it was thought that when a carious tooth was sealed, the carious lesions were stopped or at least reduced in activity. That belief has been disproven. It is now known that aerobic organisms become anaerobic when they do not have oxygen, and that the lesions continue to be active.

Therefore, the following quote from a recent systematic review of the literature should be strongly considered by practitioners: “The evidence supports recommendations to seal sound surfaces and noncavitated lesions.”

Booch BF et al. Preventing dental caries through school-based sealant programs. Updated recommendations and reviews of evidence. J Am Dent Assoc. Nov. 2009; 140(11):1356-1365.

Dr. Gordon Christensen comments: More attention should be placed on detection of initial caries before placing sealants. When obvious caries activity is present, restorations should be placed. See our newest DVD: V5143 “Sealants and Preventive Resin Restorations — When and How” on page 2 of the guide listed below.

Gordon J. Christensen Guide for Preferred Clients, Nov./Dec. 2010, Vol. 15, Issue 5

Click here to read more clinical tips and current research from Dr. Gordon Christensen.

Author bio
Dr. Gordon Christensen is a practicing prosthodontist in Provo, Utah, and a Diplomate for the American Board of Prosthodontics. He is the founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses, an international continuing education organization initiated in 1981 for dental professionals. Dr. Christensen is a cofounder (with his wife, Rella) and senior consultant of CLINICIANS REPORT (formerly Clinical Research Associates), which has conducted research in all areas of dentistry since 1976. Dr. Christensen is an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.