The effectiveness of sealants in managing caries lesions

S. O. Griffin, E. Oong, W. Kohn, B. Vidakovic, B. F. Gooch, J. Bader, J. Clarkson, M. R. Fontana, D. M. Meyer, R. G. Rozier, J. A. Weintraub, D. T. Zero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

199 Scopus citations


A barrier to providing sealants is concern about inadvertently sealing over caries. This meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of sealants in preventing caries progression. We searched electronic databases for comparative studies examining caries progression in sealed permanent teeth. We used a random-effects model to estimate percentage reduction in the probability of caries progression in sealed vs. unsealed carious teeth. Six studies, including 4 randomized-controlled trials (RCT) judged to be of fair quality, were included in the analysis (384 persons, 840 teeth, and 1090 surfaces). The median annual percentage of non-cavitated lesions progressing was 2.6% for sealed and 12.6% for unsealed carious teeth. The summary prevented fraction for RCT was 71.3% (95%CI: 52.8%-82.5, no heterogeneity) up to 5 years after placement. Despite variation among studies in design and conduct, sensitivity analysis found the effect to be consistent in size and direction. Sealing non-cavitated caries in permanent teeth is effective in reducing caries progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Caries
  • Pit and fissure sealants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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    Griffin, S. O., Oong, E., Kohn, W., Vidakovic, B., Gooch, B. F., Bader, J., Clarkson, J., Fontana, M. R., Meyer, D. M., Rozier, R. G., Weintraub, J. A., & Zero, D. T. (2008). The effectiveness of sealants in managing caries lesions. Journal of dental research, 87(2), 169-174.