Aim: To prevent decalcification during orthodontic treatment using fixed appliances, many orthodontists use sealants to protect the enamel surface around the brackets. If the patients' oral hygiene is insufficient, air polishing devices are often used to clean the teeth. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of air polishing on the sealant.
Material and methods: Three sealants (Pro Seal, OrthoSolo, and Seal&Protect((R)) were used in this study. Each was applied on the surface of 30 extracted human teeth. The enamel surfaces of 10 teeth each were then air polished with the sodium-bicarbonate-based powder (Air-Flow((R))) 5 or 10 seconds, or the glycine-based powder (Clinpro Prophy) for 10 seconds.
Results: The sealant had become thinner, revealing minor defects after 5 seconds of air polishing using the sodium-bicarbonate-based powder, practically disappearing after 10 seconds. Use of the glycine-based powder allowed longer air-polishing times, but the sealant surface also showed minor defects thereafter.
Conclusion: Reliable protection against demineralization may be seriously compromised after sealed tooth surfaces are cleaned with air-polishing devices. This finding correlates with the type of powder and air-polishing time.