Module 3: Tooth Surface Assessment and Selection
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Please Note: This curriculum was developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and may not reflect current guidance for materials, procedures, and infection control.

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3.0 Tooth Selection


This module offers information on how to assess a child's teeth to determine whether they would benefit from dental sealant placement. It presents an overview of the dental caries disease process, emphasizing practical concepts related to caries prevalence, cavitated vs. non-cavitated lesions, detection and diagnosis, and aids for caries detection. The module also presents information on how to determine whether to seal teeth and which teeth to seal.

Learning Objectives

  • List three things that interact to result in dental caries.
  • Explain the differences between a cavitated and a non-cavitated caries lesion.
  • Explain the differences between an active lesion and an arrested lesion.
  • For children from families with low incomes, who are at higher risk for dental caries, describe the types of lesions in the pit-and-fissure surfaces that should be sealed in school-based dental sealant programs.
  • Explain the objectives of caries detection and diagnosis.
  • List three ways that an explorer may be used during tooth examination.
  • List two reasons that X-rays are not necessary for tooth selection in sealant programs.
  • List three things that dentists working in sealant programs should consider when evaluating whether sealants placed the previous year need repair or replacement.

Time Needed to Complete This Module

Approximately 20 minutes