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Clin Oral Investig. 2012 Apr;16(2):521-9. doi: 10.1007/s00784-011-0549-4. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

Sealing occlusal caries lesions in adults referred for restorative treatment: 2-3 years of follow-up.

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Department of Cariology and Endodontics, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Nørre Allé 20, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.


The aim of this study was to assess the possibility to arrest occlusal caries lesions in adults by sealant as well as to assess the presence of radiographic progression, arrest, and regression of the sealed lesions. Seventy-two occlusal caries lesions in 52 adult patients referred to restorative treatment by senior lecturers at School of Dentistry, Copenhagen, Denmark were included. In case the patient had more than one occlusal caries lesion, randomization between sealing and restoration was made; otherwise, the lesion was sealed. In total, 60 resin sealants and 12 composite restorations were made. Follow-up period was 25-38 months (mean = 33 months). Data were analyzed using non-parametric statistics including kappa statistics. After 2-3 years, the dropout rate was 15%; two patients did not show up for control and nine previously sealed lesions were restored by the patients' general practitioners. All 12 restorations and 39 of the remaining 49 sealants were well functioning, seven (14%) sealants were repaired/replaced due to failure, and three (6%) sealed lesions were restored due to caries progression (p > 0.05). The radiographic assessment showed caries progression beneath five (10%) sealants, caries regression beneath one (2%) sealant, and unchanged depth beneath 43 (88%) sealants and all restorations (p > 0.05). The majority of the referred lesions were successfully arrested by sealants, indicating the possibility for extending the criteria for sealing occlusal caries lesions in adults. However, a longer observation period is needed for final conclusion. Extending the criteria of therapeutic sealing of occlusal caries lesions in adults will lead to increased dental health.

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