School-based Dental Sealant Program Grants
These grants assist local agencies to implement and maintain school-based dental sealant programs (S-BSPs). Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to children’s permanent molar teeth to prevent the most common type of tooth decay (on the chewing surfaces of permanent molars). S-BSP grants enable dental sealants to be provided to high-risk students in selected grades. With parental consent, teams of dental hygienists and dental assistants place sealants on children’s teeth in targeted schools in accordance with treatment plans developed by examining dentists.
Currently, 18 dental sealant grants are funded, all of which provide dental sealants in schools (see the list of funded agencies and a map of counties with programs.) A one-page synopsis about Ohio's program is available as well as a list of frequently asked questions.
Resources for S-BSPs
Evidence in support of S-BSPs
The Task Force on Community Preventive Services was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1996 to develop guidance on which community-based health promotion and disease prevention interventions work and which do not work, based on available scientific evidence. In 2001, the task force issued a strong endorsement of S-BSPs based on evidence that sealants prevent or reduce decay in children.
Beginning in 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored meetings of an expert workgroup to update recommendations for S-BSPs on the basis of available evidence on:
- The effectiveness of sealants in preventing new decay and progression of early decay
- Methods to assess decay
- Sealant placement techniques
- Scientific reviews of program practices
The updated guidelines for the use of sealants in S-BSPs were published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. The recommendations are designed to guide practices of state and community public health programs for planning, implementing and evaluating S-BSPs. Links to published studies conducted by workgroup members to update the recommendations can be found on the CDC Web site.
Oral Health program staff have recently authored two journal articles about targeting S-BSPs:
Targeting School-based Sealant Programs: Who is at “Higher Risk”?
Do School-based Dental Sealant Programs Reach Higher Risk Children?
The School-based Dental Sealant Program (S-BDSP) Manual, updated in August 2012, provides information and clearly states expectations of, and standards for, Ohio Department of Health (ODH)-funded S-BSPs. ODH-funded S-BSPs must comply with the requirements in this manual.
Seal America: The Prevention Invention, 2nd Edition is an online manual that provides practical guidance for new programs, and may help existing programs looking to improve their operations.
The Ohio Safety Net Dental Clinics Web site offers a free continuing education course for dentists and dental hygienists on S-BSPs.
Last Updated: 3/21/13
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