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Statewide School Dental Sealant Program

School Dental Sealant Program 

School dental sealant programs are an evidence-based practice recommended by the Association of State and Territorial Dental DirectorsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention and Healthy People 2020 based on strong evidence of effectiveness in preventing cavities among children.

The Oregon Oral Health Coalition (OrOHC), Oral Health Funders Collaborative and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are working towards expanding school dental sealant programs to serve more children, as outlined as a key recommendation in the Strategic Plan for Oral Health in Oregon: 2014-2020. School sealant programs effectively reach children from low-income families who are less likely to receive care at a dental office.

Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a liquid coating applied to the chewing surfaces of molar teeth for the purpose of preventing cavities. Most cavities (90%) occur in the molars, and school-based dental sealant programs can reduce cavities by 50%.

Eligibility for the OHAs (Statewide) School Dental Sealant Program 

  • Elementary and Middle schools are eligible if at least 40% of the students are eligible for the federal Free-and-Reduced Lunch (FRL) Program.
  • Students are eligible if they have parental permission.

The OHA School Dental Sealant Program serves 1st and 2nd graders or 1st to 5th graders in very small elementary schools, as well as 6th and 7th graders in middle schools. Sealant services are offered to all students in the targeted grades, regardless of insurance status, race, ethnicity or socio-economic status. The dental team brings portable equipment to the school, screens the participating children, and applies dental sealants when appropriate. The screening takes about one minute per child or 15-20 minutes per class. For sealant placement, each child comes in one at a time for 15-30 minutes. The finished child retrieves the next child, so there is very little disruption of class time.

To Participate in the OHA School Dental Sealant Program

The program requires a 10' x 14' space for 1 to 11 days, depending on the size of the school. To participate, please contact the Oral Health Program at oral.health@state.or.us or call 971-673-0339. Eligible schools will be served as funding becomes available.

Forms

Parent permission forms are mailed to participating schools in mid-August. If additional forms are needed, please download and print the language needed.

The Parent Permission Forms and Parent Fact Sheets are printed double-sided (e.g. English/Spanish, English/Arabic). The parent permission forms are stapled on top of the parent fact sheets distributed to parents. The Teacher Information Sheet is for teachers whose classrooms will be involved.

For more information about the OHA School Dental Sealant Program, please download a program brochure (pdf).

Local Programs 

Local programs are also serving Oregon schools. Prior to 2007, only three of Oregon's 36 counties had school dental sealant programs (Multnomah, Jackson and Curry counties) which served 92 (26%) of the eligible schools. From 2007 to 2018, strategic efforts by state and community organizations increased the number of schools served to over 600 in 36 counties (88% of eligible). There are now 21 school dental sealant programs certified by the state. 

The OHA program transitions OHA-served schools to local programs when the programs become certified and demonstrate they have the capacity to serve additional schools. To date, the OHA has transitioned 103 OHA-served schools to local programs. 

In 2015, the PEW Center on the States recognized Oregon as one of three states who received the maximum possible points for school dental sealant programs (full report) (Oregon report card). In 2017, the Children's Dental Health Project (pg. 6) referred to Oregon's certification program as a guide to providing quality services in the schools. 

Oregon Data

2016-17

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, all school dental sealant programs must be certified, according to Senate Bill 660. The rules regarding SB 660 are here. All certified programs are now required to submit accurate, aggregate data to OHA at the end of the school year. Prior to this change, data submission by local programs was voluntary and should be considered an estimate

All Programs

  • 506 elementary grades and 269 middle grades were eligible for school dental sealant programs.
  • 449 of the eligible elementary grades were served (88%). 
  • 183 of the eligible middles grades were served (68%).
OHA Statewide School Dental Sealant Program
  • 57 eligible elementary grades and 14 middle grades participated. 
  • 2,720 children were screened. 
  • 2,116 children received dental sealants. 
  • 7,316 sealants were provided. 
  • 32% of the children screened were referred for needed restorative care. 
Local School Dental Sealant Programs
  • 392 eligible elementary grades and 169 middle grades participated. 
  • Data from local programs will be published in the first Annual School Dental Sealant Report (due mid-2018). 

2015-16

All Programs 

  • 715* elementary schools were eligible for school dental sealant programs.
  • 462 of the eligible elementary grades** were served (88%).
  • 132 of the 281 eligible middle school grades** were served (47%). 
OHA Statewide School Dental Sealant Program
  • 80 eligible elementary and 8 middle grades participated. 
  • 3,439 children were screened. 
  • 2,484 children received dental sealants. 
  • 8,193 sealants were provided. 
  • 32% of the children screened were referred for needed restorative care. 
Local School Dental Sealant Programs
  • 382 eligible elementary and 124 middle grades participated. 

2014-15

All Programs
  • 460 elementary schools were eligible for school dental sealant programs (50% FRL). 
  • 363 schools participated (78% of the eligible schools). 
OHA Statewide School Dental Sealant Program
  • 143 eligible elementary schools participated. 
  • 6,712 children were screened. 
  • 4,720 children received dental sealants. 
  • 15,106 sealants were provided. 
  • 32% of the children screened were referred for needed restorative care. 
Local School Dental Sealant Programs
  • 220 eligible elementary schools participated.

Additional Information

*In 2015-16, the OHA increased the number of eligible schools due to the increase in capacity to serve those schools. Research supports targeting schools where at least 40% of the students are eligible for the FRL program and targeting middle schools to reach students with 2nd permanent molars. The number of eligible schools increased from 460 to 715. 

** Some schools house both elementary (1st-3rd) and middles school grades (6th-8th). Data, therefore, is now reported by eligible "grades" served, rather than schools served. 

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