Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Dental sealant knowledge, opinion, values and practice of Spanish dentists

Laura San Martin123*, Antonio Castaño4, Manuel Bravo5, Mary Tavares67, Richard Niederman8 and Eyitope O Ogunbodede9

Author Affiliations

1 School of Dentistry, University of Seville, Avicena s/n, Seville, Spain

2 Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA

3 Harvard School of Dental Medicine Boston, Boston, MA, USA

4 School of Dentistry, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

5 School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

6 Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA

7 Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

8 Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA

9 Faculty of Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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BMC Oral Health 2013, 13:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-12

Published: 8 February 2013



Multiple guidelines and systematic reviews recommend sealant use to reduce caries risk. Yet, multiple reports also indicate that sealants are significantly underutilized. This study examined the knowledge, opinions, values, and practice (KOVP) of dentists concerning sealant use in the southwest region of Andalusia, Spain. This is a prelude to the generation of a regional plan for improving children’s oral health in Andalusia.


The survey’s target population was dentists working in western Andalusia, equally distributed in the provinces of Seville, Cadiz, and Huelva (N=2,047). A convenience sample of meeting participants and meeting participant email lists (N=400) were solicited from the annual course on Community and Pediatric Dentistry. This course is required for all public health sector dentists, and is open to all private sector dentists. Information on the dentist’s KOVP of sealants was collected using four-part questionnaire with 31, 5-point Likert-scaled questions.


The survey population demographics included 190 men (48%) and 206 women (52%) with an average clinical experience of 10.6 (± 8.4) years and 9.3 (± 7.5) years, respectively. A significant sex difference was observed in the distribution of place of work (urban/suburb) (p=0.001), but no sex differences between working sector (public/private). The mean ± SD values for each of the four KOVP sections for pit and fissure sealants were: knowledge = 3.57 ± 0.47; opinion = 2.48 ± 0.47; value = 2.74 ± 0.52; and practice = 3.48 ± 0.50. No sex differences were found in KOVP (all p >0.4). Independent of sex: knowledge statistically differed by years of experience and place of work; opinion statistically differed by years of experience and sector; and practice statistically differed by years of experience and sector. Less experienced dentists tended to have slightly higher scores (~0.25 on a Likert 1–5 scale). Statistically significant correlations were found between knowledge and practice (r=0.44, p=0.00) and between opinion and value (r=0.35, p=0.00).


The results suggest that, similar to other countries, Andalusian dentists know that sealants are effective, have neutral to positive attitudes toward sealants; though, based on epidemiological studies, underuse sealants. Therefore, methods other than classical behavior change (eg: financial or legal mechanisms) will be required to change practice patterns aimed at improving children's oral health.

Fissure sealants; Dental; Prevention; Children; Oral health