Purpose: The objective was to assess the effect of fissure depth and enamel surface preparation protocols on penetration of resin-based, giomer and glass-ionomer fissure sealants.
Materials and Methods: Ninety extracted third molars were assigned into three groups according to the material used. All three groups were subsequently divided depending on tooth preparation: no pretreatment or surface preparation with 10% polyacrylic acid, 37% phosphoric acid, or self-etching adhesive. In addition, Er,Cr:YSGG laser or air abrasion were employed in all subgroups. The penetration was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy.
Results: The groups that were pretreated with an appropriate acid resulted in superior penetration of glass-ionomer and resin-based sealants when compared with other surface preparation protocols (p < 0.05). The exception was teeth treated with both air abrasion and acid etching. Both preparation protocol and fissure depth significantly affected the sealant penetration (p < 0.05), but fissure depth had a greater impact on fissure penetration than did enamel surface pretreatment.
Conclusion: All investigated materials exhibit similar properties regarding sealant penetration. Penetration of a fissure sealant is significantly influenced by the fissure depth. In regard to enamel surface preparation protocol, a pretreatment with phosphoric acid in resin-based and polyacrylic acid in glass-ionomers appears to be essential in obtaining the adequate penetration of a sealing material.