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Sealing versus partial caries removal in primary molars: a randomized clinical trial

Daniela Hesse1*, Clarissa Calil Bonifácio2, Fausto Medeiros Mendes1, Mariana Minatel Braga1, José Carlos Pettorossi Imparato1 and Daniela Prócida Raggio1

Author Affiliations

1 Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry Department, Dental School, University of São Paulo - USP, Av. Lineu Prestes, São Paulo, SP 2227, Brazil

2 Department of Conservative Dentistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam - ACTA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Oral Health 2014, 14:58  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-58

Published: 28 May 2014



The resin-based pit and fissure sealant is considered a successful tool in caries prevention, however there is a growing evidence of its use in controlling already established caries in posterior teeth. The aim of this clinical trial is to verify the efficacy of pit and fissure sealants in arresting dentinal caries lesions compared to partial excavation and restorative treatment in primary molar teeth.


Thirty six patients with occlusal cavitated primary molar reaching outer half of dentin were selected. The patients were randomly allocated into two groups: sealant application (experimental group – n = 17) and restoration with composite resin (control group – n = 19). Clinical and radiograph evaluation were performed after 6, 12 and 18 months. The chi-square test was used to verify the distribution of characteristics variables of the sample among the groups. The survival rate of treatments was evaluated using Kaplan–Meier survival and log-rank test. Fisher’s Exact and logistic regression tests were calculated in each evaluation period (α = 5%).


The control group showed significantly better clinical survival after 18 months (p = 0.0025). In both groups, no caries progression was registered on the radiographic evaluations.


Sealing had similar efficacy in the arrestment of caries progression of cavitated occlusal lesions compared to partial excavation of the lesions, even though the frequency of re-treatments was significantly higher in sealed lesions.

Trial registration

Registro Brasileiro de Ensaios Clínicos (ReBEC): RBR-9kkv53

Pit and fissure sealants; Dental caries; Primary teeth; Caries lesion; Partially excavation