According to the CDC, if 50% of children at high-risk participated in school sealant programs, over half of their tooth decay would be prevented and money would be saved on their treatment costs.
The following recommendations for School Sealant Programs provided by the CDC and ADA for practitioners in school-based programs are based on evidence:
- Resin-based sealants are the first choice of material for dental sealants.
- Seal pit-and-fissure tooth surfaces that are sound or have early decay, prioritizing first and second permanent molars.
- Use visual assessment to differentiate surfaces with the earliest signs of tooth decay from more advanced lesions.
- X-rays are not needed solely for sealant placement.
- A toothbrush can be used to help clean the tooth surface before acid etching.
- When resources allow, have an assistant help the dental professional place sealants.
- Provide sealants to children even if follow-up examinations for every child cannot be guaranteed.
“Effect of dental sealants on bacteria levels in caries lesions” – Sealants reduced bacteria in carious lesions, though low levels of bacteria persist in some lesions. The findings do not support reported concerns about poorer outcomes associated with inadvertently sealing caries. Therefore, practitioners should not be reluctant to provide sealants—an intervention proven to be highly effective in preventing caries—because of concerns about inadvertently sealing over caries.