Techniques for assessing tooth surfaces in school-based sealant programs

Margherita Fontana, Domenick T. Zero, Eugenio D. Beitrán-Aguilar, Shellie Kolavic Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Background. The authors reviewed the evidence supporting current guidelines for the detection of cavitated carious lesions. Currently, cavitation is the point at which sealants are not placed in school-based programs. Types of Studies Reviewed. The authors did not perform a formal systematic review. However, they examined existing systematic reviews of caries detection and diagnosis, including those presented at the 2001 National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Management of Caries, published evidence related to the International Caries Detection and Assessment System criteria and other peer-reviewed publications. Where the authors found ambiguity or uncertainty in the evidence, they consulted with fellow members of an expert work group. Results. Visual examination is appropriate and adequate for caries assessment before placing sealants. The clinician should not use an explorer under force. Radiographs are not indicated solely for the placement of sealants, and the use of magnification and caries detection devices is not necessary to determine cavitation. Clinical Implications. This report focuses on tooth assessment, in particular the detection of carious lesion cavitation in school-based sealant programs. These recommendations must be balanced with the dentist's expertise, available treatment options, the patient's preferences and access to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-860
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Assessment
  • Caries
  • Cavitated lesions
  • Detection
  • Noncavitated lesions
  • Occlusal surfaces
  • Sealants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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