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J Am Dent Assoc. 2001 Oct;132(10):1442-51; quiz 1461.

Sealant use and placement techniques among pediatric dentists.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.



Pit and fissure sealant use varies widely among dentists. The authors conducted a survey to determine the current variations and patterns of sealant placement among pediatric dentists.


The authors mailed a 20-question survey to American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry members from six states, who represented one-third (1,210) of the membership, as well as to all 52 pediatric dentistry departments in U.S. dental schools. The authors examined selection criteria, placement techniques, evaluation methodologies, and the one- and three-year estimated success and reapplication rates of sealant placement.


The response rates were 70 percent for practitioners and 90 percent for dental schools. Approximately 80 percent of respondents said they sealed caries-free and questionable carious surfaces. Only 20 percent of the respondents said they sealed incipient carious surfaces; none said they would seal overt caries. Surface preparation was used always or sometimes by 87 percent of the respondents. The estimated one- and three-year sealant retention rates were 89 percent and 78 percent, respectively, for practitioners and 83 percent and 71 percent, respectively, for dental schools.


The survey demonstrated wide variations in selection criteria, placement techniques and evaluation methodologies, yet showed remarkable similarities between practitioners and dental schools. The reported retention rates were consistent with those reported in the literature.


The survey results suggested that pediatric dentists were searching for evidence-based selection criteria and a technique protocol for sealant placement that improved clinical success. The wide technique variations reported were likely a result of training diversity, diagnostic uncertainty, technique and material sensitivity, and an attempt to improve the success rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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