Providing sealants at the general anaesthetic assessment visit for children requiring caries-related dental extractions under general anaesthetic: a pilot randomised controlled trial

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Introduction: Children experiencing a caries-related dental general anaesthetic (GA) are at high risk of developing new caries. It is thus important to maximise opportunities for prevention.

Aim: To undertake a pilot randomised controlled clinical trial (RCT) to assess the feasibility of delivering and evaluating the effectiveness of sealing sound permanent molars at the pre-GA assessment appointment in children needing caries-related extractions under GA.

Methods: Children (5-15 years) scheduled for GA extractions at Birmingham Dental Hospital were randomised to control or sealant groups. At the pre-GA assessment appointment, sound permanent molars were sealed. Participants were followed up at two years.

Results: In total, 132 children were assessed for eligibility and 100 randomised (50 control, 50 sealant). Forty-nine children in the intervention group had sealants applied. At two years, 82 children returned for follow-up (43 control, 39 sealant). Sealants were retained on 93.5% (244/261) of surfaces sealed at baseline. Overall, 42% (n = 18) of control group participants had dentine caries in at least one permanent molar that was sound at baseline compared with none in the sealant group.

Conclusion: Following caries-related extractions under GA, children are at high risk of developing new caries in permanent molars that were sound at the time of the GA. Sealant placement during the pre-GA assessment visit is feasible and may reduce caries incidence in this vulnerable group. High-risk families were found to be reliable study participants.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Early online date11 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2021