Caries-Preventive Effect of High-Viscosity Glass Ionomer and Resin-Based Fissure Sealants on Permanent Teeth: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials

Mickenautsch, S.; Yengopal, V.

Plos one 11(1): E0146512


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 26799812
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146512
Accession: 057360168

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Glass-ionomers are traditionally regarded to be inferior to resin as fissure sealants in protecting teeth from dental caries, due to their comparatively lower retention rate. Unlike low-viscosity glass-ionomers, high-viscosity glass-ionomer cements (HVGIC) are placed as sealants by pressing the material into pits and fissures with a petroleum-jelly-coated index finger. Hence, HVGIC sealants are assumed to penetrate pits and fissures deeper, resulting in a higher material retention rate, which may increase its caries-preventive effect. The aim of this review was to answer the question as to whether, in patients with fully erupted permanent molar teeth, HVGIC based fissure sealants are less effective to protect against dental carious lesions in occlusal pits and fissures than resin-based fissure sealants? A systematic literature search in eight databases was conducted. Heterogeneity of accepted trials and imprecision of the established evidence were assessed. Extracted sufficiently homogenous datasets were pooled by use of a random-effects meta-analysis. Internal trial validity was evaluated. The protocol of this systematic review was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO / Nr.: CRD42015016007). Seven clinical trials were provisionally included for further review. Of these, one was excluded. Seven trial reports reporting on six trials were accepted. From these, 11 datasets were extracted and pooled in four meta-analyses. The results suggest no statistically significant differences after up to 48 months and borderline significant differences in favour of HVGIC sealants after 60 months (RR 0.29; 95% CI: 0.09-0.95; p = 0.04 / RD -0.07; 95% CI: -0.14, -0.01). The point estimates and upper confidence levels after 24, 36, 48 and 60 months of RR 1.36; RR 0.90; RR 0.62; RR 0.29 and 2.78; 1.67; 1.21; 0.95, respectively, further suggest a chronological trend in favour of HVGIC above resin-based sealants. The internal trial validity was judged to be low and the bias risk high for all trials. Imprecision of results was considered too high for clinical guidance. It can be concluded that: (i) Inferiority claims against HVGIC in comparison to resin-based sealants as current gold-standard are not supported by the clinical evidence; (ii) The clinical evidence suggests similar caries-preventive efficacy of HVGIC and resin-based sealants after a period of 48 months in permanent molar teeth but remains challenged by high bias risk; (iii) Evidence concerning a possible superiority of HVGIC above resin-based sealants after 60 months is poor (even if the high bias risk is disregarded) due to imprecision and requires corroboration through future research.