The Prevalence of Pit and Fissure Sealants among Twelve Year Old Living in Puerto Rico during 1997

Augusto R. Elías-Boneta, Rosana Hanke-Herrero, Kevin Psoter, Carlos E. Toro-Vizcarrondo, Walter J. Psoter


Objective: to estimate the prevalence of pit and fissure sealants on first permanent molars in twelve year olds living in Puerto Rico and to further evaluate dental sealant prevalence by 1) urban/rural and public/ private school status as well as 2) gender; Design: population-based, cross-sectional study; Setting: public and private schools encompassing the 11 health regions of Puerto Rico. Subjects: a probabilistic sample of 12-year old school attendees in Puerto Rico representing a population of approximately 70,000. Method: during April through December 1997, the first permanent molars of 1435 subjects were evaluated by visual and tactile methods for the presence of dental sealants. Results: the data collected revealed that 4.3% of 12 years olds presented at least one permanent first molar sealed. A statistically significant difference (p=0.01) between urban-public (2.5%), rural-public (3.39%) and urban-private (11.0%) schools was observed. The prevalence of sealants was higher in males (5.5%) than females (2.9%); (p= 0.02). Conclusions: the prevalence of dental sealants in the first permanent molars of 12-year olds living in Puerto Rico during 1997 (4.3%) is lower than that reported in the United States (18.5%). Sealant prevalence was higher in males and students attending (urban) private schools.

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