Why do 50% of sealants fall off after five years of service?

Feb. 17, 2011
Dr. Gordon Christensen tells you the essential steps to make sealants last longer and caries detection more accurate.

By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

It is necessary to remove plaque, stain, and calculus before acid-etching enamel or using the DIAGNOdent.

Over the past few months, the importance of a technology that few dentists have in their offices has become evident. The dismal research reports on sealants show that at least one-half of them have fallen off by five years of service. Why?

Dentists and staff are not removing plaque before attempting to acid-etch the plaque-filled, extremely narrow grooves of the teeth to be sealed. Brushes, explorers, or rubber cups cannot remove the plaque in the grooves. Additionally, the DIAGNOdent provides inaccurate readings if stain or calculus is on occlusal tooth surfaces.

Air slurry polishing (air polishing) devices are capable of removing plaque, stain, and immature calculus from occlusal surfaces, and they should be used before placing sealants on teeth or using the DIAGNOdent. Example devices are the Prophy-Jet and The Cavitron Jet® Plus™ from Dentsply, the PROPHYflex 3 from KaVo, and the AIR-FLOW® handy 2+ from EMS.

Our entirely new DVD V5143 “Sealants and Preventive Resin Restorations — When & How” shows the use of air slurry polishers to optimize the effectiveness of sealants and to increase the accuracy of the DIAGNOdent.

Gordon J. Christensen Guide for Preferred Clients Nov/Dec 2010, Vol. 15, Issue 6

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.