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3.6 Selecting Existing Dental Sealants for Repair or Replacement

Oral health professionals working in school-based dental sealant programs who evaluate long-term dental sealant retention should use their professional judgment when evaluating whether sealants placed the previous year need repair or replacement. When making decisions, they should consider the following:

  • Defects in dental sealant material (e.g., bubbles) do not require repair unless underlying tooth surface is exposed by the defect.
  • Catches in marginal areas do not require repair unless they expose non-cleansable caries-prone areas of the fissure system.
  • Although staining at the interface of sealant and enamel does not, of itself, indicate caries, it may suggest an area of microleakage that could benefit from coverage with additional sealant material.
  • Before finalizing a decision on the need for repair of a partially retained sealant, it makes sense to attempt to dislodge the remaining sealant to determine whether it can be lifted off. If it can be lifted off, it must be replaced.8