AAPHD Resolution on Pit and Fissure Sealants

Approved October 17, 1984


There has been a growing body of scientific evidence that pit and fissure sealants are a safe and effective primary prevention clinical procedure. In December, 1983, a National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference unanimously endorsed the placement of dental sealants as a highly effective and safe means of preventive dental caries on the surfaces of noncarious teeth that contain pits and grooves. On April 19, 1984, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service endorsed the measure and urged health agency directors and practitioners to incorporate the use of sealants into their programs and practices, and to increase public awareness. The Department of Defense also implemented a policy supporting the use of sealants. The American Public Health Association has prepared a statement. Other leading national professional organizations, such as the American Dental Association, are also considering adopting similar policies.


WHEREAS, oral health is a vital component of total health, and

WHEREAS, dental caries (tooth decay) is one of the most common diseases of childhood; and

WHEREAS, the sequelae of dental caries include pain, infection, tooth loss, need for costly treatment, and absence from school; and

WHEREAS, dental caries is preventable and that prevention of oral disease is preferable to treatment and is a critical element in containing costs of oral health programs; and

WHEREAS, while fluorides represent the most effective measure for preventing tooth decay on the smooth surfaces of teeth, additional protection is required for the pits and fissures of teeth; and

WHEREAS, 80% of the carious lesions of children occur in the occlusal (chewing) and other pit and fissure tooth surfaces; and

WHEREAS, pit and fissure sealants have been evaluated for over 15 years and have been found safe and effective in reducing the incidence of dental decay on these surfaces; and

WHEREAS, the exclusion of payment by private and public dental benefit programs is a major barrier to public acceptance, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the American Association of Public Health Dentistry strongly supports and encourages the use of pit and fissure sealants as well as fluorides in private dental practices and public dental health programs, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Association supports the inclusion of pit and fissure sealants as a covered preventive service by public and private third party payment programs, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Association urges health agency directors and practitioners to increase the public's awareness of this dental caries preventive measure.