Does the amount of filler content in sealants used to prevent decalcification on smooth enamel surfaces really matter?
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OBJECTIVE: To determine how filler content and an acidic environment affect the retention of sealants placed on smooth enamel surfaces. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A sample of 120 teeth was randomly divided into six subsamples. Three experimental sealants with identical formulas, with the exception of the amount of filler content (18%, 30%, 50%), were applied according to manufacturers' recommendations. Half of the subsamples were exposed to an acid environment (pH of 2.5) for 96 hours. With the use of a tooth-brushing simulator, each tooth was exposed to 15,000 brushing strokes, while a slurry of 1 : 3 toothpaste/neutral sodium bicarbonate cycled through the machine. Initial and final photographs were analyzed subjectively and objectively. Scanning electron microscope photomicrographs were used to evaluate the tooth surface. RESULTS: Subjective analyses showed significant (P < .05) filler effects, with the 18% filled sealant showing the least change, followed by the 30% sealant, then the 50% filled sealant, which showed the greatest loss. Objective analyses showed the same pattern of loss, but the differences between sealants were not statistically significant. Exposure to an acidic environment had no significant effect on sealant retention. SEMS showed a layer of sealant remaining on all of the sealed teeth evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: Filler content of resin sealant material affects the retention of sealants on smooth enamel surfaces; exposure to an acid environment has no effect on sealant retention. Within the limits of this study, highly filled resin sealants once saturated have the ability to endure the oral environment and remain on a smooth enamel surface, regardless of the amount of filler content.