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Statewide School Dental Sealant Program

School Dental Sealant Program   Orange line.png

Dental sealants are one of the BEST cavity prevention strategies. Sealants prevent up to 80% of cavities on the chewing surface of molars (back teeth). Throughout Oregon, certified local school dental sealant programs serve many elementary and middle school-aged students by screening students for cavities and placing sealants on teeth, as needed. 
Cavities in school-age children is a huge problem in Oregon which needs to be addressed. Almost half of Oregon's 1st - 3rd grade students have had cavities. Nationally, over 50% of children aged 6 to 8 years have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth and more than 50% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
Cavities are the most common childhood chronic disease among children under 19 years old in the United States. School Dental Sealant Programs can significantly reduce the number of cavities in children.
School dental sealant programs support health equity by increasing access to dental care for all students. Schools are an important place for children to get oral health preventive care. This is especially true in Oregon where 33 out of 36 of our counties do not have the dental care providers needed to meet the needs of their community. School dental sealant programs also focus on serving schools that have students from low-income families that are less likely to receive care at a dental office.
School dental sealant programs are safe and effective at preventing cavities, and they are FREE. If your school has a dental sealant program, you may get a permission form for your student to sign up for these services. Here is an example of a permission form: 
Partners around Oregon are working toward increasing school dental sealant programs to serve more children, based on strong scientific evidence that school dental sealant programs reach many students and can prevent cavities in students' teeth.

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What are dental sealants?Orange line.png

A dental sealant is a liquid coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth) to prevent cavities. The coating flows into the deep pits and grooves of the tooth “sealant out" the bacteria and food debris that cause cavities.
Children usually have their first set of permanent molar teeth in 1st and 2nd grades (two on the top and two on the bottom). The second set of permanent molar teeth usually comes in around 6th and 7th grades.
During a school dental sealant program visit, a registered dental hygienist will look inside the students' mouths (if they have a signed “yes" permission form), check the student's teeth, and places sealants when needed. This screening takes about one minute per student. Placing sealants takes about 15 minutes per student. Getting sealants does not hurt and no anesthetic (numbing shots) is needed.
Dental sealants only protect the molars (back teeth). Students still need to brush and floss daily, use fluoride, choose healthy snacks/beverages, and visit their dentist regularly. For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy, visit the Caring for Your Teeth webpage.

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Who can get dental sealants?

Orange line.pngSchool dental sealant programs are in every county in Oregon. Schools can have a school dental sealant program if services have first been provided at elementary and middle schools where:
  • 40 percent or greater of all students attending the school are eligible to receive assistance under the United States Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program; or
  • The school has been approved for the Community Eligibility Program; or
  • The school is in a dental care health professional shortage area.
Ask your school if they have a school dental sealant program event for your student's grade. If your student's grade is participating, make sure to sign and return a “yes" parent/guardian permission form that was sent home with your student.
If your school does not have a school dental sealant program, ask your dentist about getting sealants. If you need to find a dentist, please visit: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/ORALHEALTH/Pages/Find-a-Dentist.aspx



Parent/Guardian Permission Forms and Fact SheetsOrange line.png

  • Permission forms may be available in electronic paper format.
  • Permission forms should be available in many languages.
  • Ask your school for a permission form if they have a school dental sealant program visiting your student's school.



Participation DataOrange line.png

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2022-2023 School Year
  • 747 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 61,494 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 26,776 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 96,287 sealants were placed.


2021-2022 School Year
  • 814 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 45,878 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 20,539 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 80,538 sealants were placed.

2020-21 School Year (COVID-19 had a large negative impact)
  • 800 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 7,833 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 3,454 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 10,891 sealants were placed.

2019-20 School Year
  • 759 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 48,129 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 19,749 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 60,976 sealants were placed.

2018-19 School Year
  • 729 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 68,765 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 25,398 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 78,410 sealants were placed.

2017-18 School Year
  • 697 Oregon schools had a school dental sealant program.
  • 60,010 students screened for dental sealants.
  • 25,434 students received one or more dental sealants.
  • 80,511 sealants were placed.


Questions?

Please contact oral.health@odhsoha.oregon.gov or call the School Oral Health Coordinator at 971-412-0531 (voice/text).