Types of Sealant Materials
There are two types of resin-based sealants, filled and unfilled. Filled sealants are a combination of resins, chemicals, and fillers. The purpose of the filler is to increase bonding strength and resistance to abrasion and wear. Due to the hardness and wear resistance of filled sealants, they must be checked after placement with articulating paper and adjusted with a dental handpiece and rotary bur. Unfilled sealants have a higher ratio of resin to filler material, and do not need to be adjusted with a dental handpiece; they are in essence self-occluding. Due to low viscosity (rate of flow) of unfilled sealants, they readily flow into the pits and fissures.
Because fluoride uptake increases the enamel’s resistance to caries, the use of a fluoridated resin-based sealant may provide an additional anticariogenic effect. Fluoride-releasing sealants have shown antibacterial properties, as well as a greater caries resistance compared to a non-fluoridated sealant material. The fluoride will leach out over a period of time into the adjacent enamel. Eventually the fluoride content of the sealant should be exhausted, but the content of the enamel greatly increased.