The sealant is made of a special plastic film, which is placed right onto the biting surface of the molars. Thus, the teeth become protected, and the decay will not expand anymore.
The study has been led by Danish researchers, and it involved 52 adults, who had in total as many as 72 decayed teeth. It is important to mention that the decayed teeth were all molar teeth, and the decay was visible right onto the biting surface of the teeth.
Dentists have placed tooth sealants on as many as 60 teeth, while the remaining 12 teeth have been treated with the traditional drilling and filling method. Certainly, placing tooth sealants on adult teeth is not a standard treatment method.
However, the researchers wanted to find out if the sealants are efficient in the case of adult teeth as well. Here are some of the important points of the study:
- there were a few patients who stepped out of the study quite early
- dentists examined the teeth treated with traditional filings, and they found the teeth were in good health
- out of 49 sealants examined, 39 were intact
- only 7 sealants needed to be replaced or repaired, because they did not form good adhesion onto the surface of the tooth
- there were 3 sealants that needed to be replaced with the traditional filling treatment, mainly because researchers found that the decay has been continuing to grow under the sealant
The patients involved into the study were also subjected to dental X-ray examinations. The researchers found that in 2% of the patients, the decay actually got smaller in size while only in 10% of the cases did they notice that the decay under the sealants had grown in size.
Authors of the study suggest that in some cases, the adult dental decay could be treated efficiently with dental sealants instead of the standard filling treatment. The present study first appeared in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations (April issue, 2012).