A systematic review and updated clinical practice guidelines published in an article in The Journal of the American Dental Association give a clear indication to dental professionals of the benefit of the use of sealants in preventing and managing occlusal cavities in children and adolescents.
“The guidelines show that sealants are more effective in managing pit and fissure caries than fluoride treatments, such as varnish,” said Dr John Timothy Wright, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry and lead author of the article.
The American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs and Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, convened a working group to update sealant guidelines, which the Council first developed in 2008. The working group, which included clinical experts, stakeholders and methodologists, undertook a systematic review that informed development of the evidence-based guidelines.
The group’s literature search identified 23 relevant clinical trials evaluating sealants and their ability to prevent or manage dental cavities for two years or longer, and the group included the data from all of the clinical trials in their analysis, Dr Wright said.
The analysis indicated that children treated with sealants have about a 70-80% reduction in the incidence of occlusal cavities compared with children that do not receive sealants. There were no reports of any adverse outcomes or health concerns related to the use of pit and fissure sealants, adding further to the merit of using sealants as a routine part of preventive dental services.