February 19, 2015
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Charisse Corsbie-Massay, Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology
The Efficacy of Dental Sealants – A Meta-Analysis
Considering the existing disparities in cavity experience and access to oral health care among people of different races and income levels, the efficacy of potential preventative care treatments must be evaluated. A meta-analysis was conducted using the data from seven studies to determine the efficacy of dental sealants. All the studies employed a half-mouth design, applied sealants to first permanent molars, and ranged between 1 to 4 follow up years. Data was summarized using the Mantel-Haenszel method and odds of decay, odds ratio, and correlations with follow up year were calculated. Sealants were found to be 81.43% effective. Odds of experimental and control teeth developing decay were correlated with follow up year. A homogeneity test revealed that the studies are heterogeneous and this can be attributed to method of polymerization. Those sealants polymerized by ultra-violet light showed less efficiency than self-polymerizing sealants. This study concluded that sealants should be utilized, however, further research is required to assess factors influencing sealants including isolation method and level of fluoride exposure. Additional studies may analyze the influence of socioeconomic status and cultural competency of the health care provider when applying the sealants as possible factors affecting the heterogeneous nature of sealant efficacy.