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Pit and fissure sealants are polymeric materials that are applied to the occlusal surfaces of teeth, which do not benefit from the caries-preventive effects of fluoride to the same extent as smooth surfaces. Dental caries, one of the most common diseases of childhood, occurs predominantly as carious lesions in pits and fissures of teeth. A large percentage of occlusal surfaces can remain caries-free for up to ten years or more after a single application of a sealant. There is strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of sealants for the prevention of dental caries. Furthermore, studies show that incipient carious lesions that remain sealed do not progress. Based on current evidence, the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) continues to strongly recommend greater use of sealants by practitioners in private and public health practice. The AADR also endorses the practice that sealants could be used in conjunction with other caries-preventive measures, such as fluoride application.


  1. JD Bader, DA Shugars, and AJ Bonito (2001). Systematic reviews of selected dental caries diagnostic and management methods.  J Dent Educ. 65(10): 960-968
  2. Benedict I. Truman, Barbara F. Gooch, Iddrisu Sulemana, Helen C. Gift, Alice M. Horowitz, Caswell A. Evans Jr, Susan O. Griffin, Vilma G. Carande-Kulis. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (2002). Reviews of Evidence on Interventions to Prevent Dental Caries, Oral and Pharyngeal Cancers, and Sports-Related Craniofacial Injuries. Am J Prev Med;23(1S)
  3. Ahovuo-Saloranta A, Hiiri A, Nordblad A, Worthington H, Mäkelä M (2004). Pit and fissure sealants for preventing dental decay in the permanent teeth of children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001830. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001830.pub2.
  4. Hiiri A, Ahovuo-Saloranta A, Nordblad A, Mäkelä M (2006). Pit and fissure sealants versus fluoride varnishes for preventing dental decay in children and adolescents.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003067. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003067.pub2
  5. Griffin SO, Oong E, Kohn W, Vidakovic B, Gooch BF, Bader J, et al (2008). The Effectiveness of Sealants in Managing Carious Lesions. Journal of Dental Research2008 (accepted).
  6. ADA, and CDC Sealant Guidelines-To be published JADA 2008
  7. Oong E, Griffin S, Kohn W, Gooch B, Caufield P. The effect of dental sealants on bacteria levels in caries lesions: a review of the evidence. JADA 2008 (accepted 12/31/2007)

(adopted 1991; revised 2009, revised 2015)