Posterior teeth, premolars and molars, contain grooves called fissures and pits. These pits and fissures are prone to dental decay due to their ability to trap food and bacteria. In an effort to reduce cavities in these areas, dental sealants were designed to fill in the pit and fissures of the posterior teeth.
Dental sealants are composed of a resin material placed into the fissured biting surface of posterior teeth. A conditioning gel is applied to the tooth surface to prepare the site to receive the sealant.
After conditioning, the sealant resin is bonded into the grooves of the posterior teeth and cured with a special light. The process is quick and painless. The end result is a much smoother surface of the tooth that is very cavity resistant.
A study conducted in 2004 found that 42% of children aged 6 to 19 years had decay in their permanent teeth and 40% of children aged 2 to 8 had decay in their primary (baby) teeth. The study also found that nearly 90% of dental decay was found in the pit and fissure areas of teeth. The study concluded that dental sealants reduced chance of decay in the pits and fissures by 86% after 1 year, 78.6% at two years and 58.6% by year four.
Beauchamp et al. “Evidence-based Clinical Recommendations for the Use of Pit-and-fissure Sealants.” www.ada.org. American Dental Association, 1 Mar. 2008. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.
Bisphenol A can arise in dental resin as either a byproduct (1) of production or contact with saliva (2). Recent concerns about the safety of BPA in dental resin have spurred several studies including an American Dental Association investigation and at the Children’s Hospital, Boston. Since the CDC still holds that dental caries (cavities) are still the number one chronic disease in children aged 6 to 19, the benefits of sealants far outweigh any risk (1).
1. “Bisphenol A.” Bisphenol A. American Dental Association. Web. 20 Aug. 2015. http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/bisphenol-a.
DeNoon, Daniel. “BPA From Dental Sealants, Fillings: Is It Safe?” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.
Resin dental composites, such as those used for fillings (due to cavities) and dental sealants, have been used for decades and millions are placed each year. There are no known health issues that have been directly linked to them, yet there is a measureable amount of research on problems associated with tooth decay. We recommend dental sealants to help prevent tooth decay in children who are prone to or at high risk of cavities.