174621 Meeting the Goal of Healthy People 2010: The Dental Hygienist as Child Advocate

Monday, October 27, 2008

Toni M. Parlanti, RDH , Dept of Health and Social Services, City of Stamford, Stamford, CT
Jody L. Bishop-Pullan, RDH, BS , Dept of Health and Social Services, City of Stamford, Stamford, CT
Celeste M. Baranowski, RDH , Dept of Health and Social Services, City of Stamford, Stamford, CT
The Stamford Health Department has been operating school-based dental programs since 1928 using dental hygienists, who perform a vital role as advocates for programs that prevent disease and promote the health of the public. In 2000, an effective dental health initiative, a sealant program targeted at second graders enrolled in the city's public elementary schools, was implemented. The goal of the program is to provide preventive oral health care to decrease the need for later restorative care. During the seven school years the program has been in existence, 3189 or 44% of the 7276 second graders screened have received sealants.

Healthy People 2010 calls for half of all children living in the US to have dental sealants.The Stamford second grade sealant program averaged 63% of 2nd grade students who qualified (no previous treatment or caries) receiving sealants over the past seven years. This has produced a concomitant decline in the referral for treatment rate.

Because preventive dental hygiene care in a school setting reduces the barriers to dental treatment; time away from school and work, transportation and cost, an increase in participation in the sealant program would be of significant benefit to children most at risk for dental caries. An assertive program of case management and focused follow up was implemented in several schools to insure all qualified children would receive the service. Frequent communication with parents to educate them about the program and the benefits of prevention has increased the number of students sealed to 90% of those qualified

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the link between increased participation in the prevention program and decreased need for treatment 2. Develop a plan to ensure children receive needed preventive dental services

Keywords: Oral Health, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I implemented the program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session IV
See more of: Oral Health