228025 MDPH-SEAL: Putting smiles back on children's faces!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Renee Aird, BSN, MS , School-based Health Center Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jill Northrup, MPH , School-based Health Center Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Lynn A. Bethel, RDH, MPH , Office of Oral Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Issue: Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood. A 2007 assessment of Massachusetts 3rd grade children revealed that 41% had decay experience and 17% had untreated decay. Left untreated, dental decay causes pain and potential tooth loss. Unhealthy teeth may also affect self-esteem, growth and even a child's ability to learn. Yet, decay is nearly 100% preventable!

Intervention: MDPH-SEAL is an evidence-based, oral health prevention program implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Oral Health. MDPH-SEAL targets students in schools with state-funded school-based health centers, located in the highest-need areas. Dental hygienists provide preventive services (screenings, education, dental sealants and topical fluoride) and referrals for restorative treatment and follow-up. The sustainable program collaborates with the school-based health centers to promote the accessibility of services, assist with the coordination of continuous care, and link children to a dental home. All materials are multilingual. Every student is welcome, regardless of ability to pay.

Impact: MDPH-SEAL reduces health disparities by lowering dental costs and improving direct access to preventive services in areas where dental providers are limited or non-existent. Data analyzed using the CDC's SEALS software, determines sealant retention rates, treatment referral effectiveness, and cost savings.

Learning Areas:
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe an evidence-based, oral health prevention program that promotes a non-traditional setting for dental hygienists 2. Define key program elements to integrate an oral health program into a school-based health center 3. Identify enablers and barriers to program success from a school-based health center perspective

Keywords: Oral Health, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the program that is being presented and I am considered an expert in school-based oral health programs.
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.