4.1 Sealant Material Selection

Sealant Materials Attributes

Fluoride-Containing vs. Traditional Materials

  • Clinical studies provide conflicting evidence as to whether dental sealant materials containing fluoride significantly prevent or inhibit caries or affect the growth of caries-associated bacteria when compared with traditional materials (i.e., those not containing fluoride).

Colored vs. Clear Materials

  • There is no difference in retention rates of colored vs. clear dental sealant materials.2
  • OOH recommends that the programs it funds use colored or opaque sealant materials that do not match tooth color, because colored or opaque materials are easier to detect, compared with clear or tooth-colored materials. However, OOH-funded programs are not required to use colored or opaque sealant materials.

Hydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic Materials

  • At least one dental sealant material has been marketed as moisture-tolerant (hydrophilic). While the manufacturer states that this product is formulated differently from other resin-based sealant materials, it utilizes the same placement as hydrophobic sealant materials until the drying stage.
  • The manufacturer’s instructions call for a tooth to not be fully dried after rinsing with water and to remain "slightly moist" but recommend that tooth surfaces not be "overly wet." The instructions are confusing in that they indicate that the moisture can be saliva but caution against the inclusion of bacteria.
  • Hydrophilic sealants lack the extensive evidence demonstrating effectiveness available for hydrophobic sealants.