Online Program

Idaho school-based dental sealant program: An evaluation of sealant retention & dental caries prevention

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.

Elizabeth Hannah, DVM, MS, MPH, Department of Community and Environmental Health, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Eric Donahue, College of Health Science, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Jeannie McCarthy-Jaggi, RDH, MHS, Department of Community and Environmental Health, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Background: Dental caries are one of the most common preventable diseases of childhood and dental sealants have been shown to significantly decrease the prevalence of dental caries in adolescents. Nationally only 30% of children between 6 and 11 years have dental sealants on their permanent molars. School-based dental sealant programs allow a focus on populations at highest risk of dental disease. Methods: In Idaho, community outreach staff travels throughout the state providing free dental sealant clinics in elementary and middle schools. The program selects schools where ≥55% of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch. This study examined the effectiveness of the program on dental caries prevention and sealant retention in sealed 6-year molars. Results: The baseline assessment was conducted with 144 2nd and 3rd grade students and evaluated a total of 576 molar surfaces. Overall, 52% of children had signs of suspected decay in at least one molar at baseline. Decay experience in sealed molars was 24%, with 94 of 388 molars either having been filled or with suspected decay at follow-up. Sealant retention was above average, with 59% of molars sealed at baseline being retained at the four year follow-up. Conclusions: The findings from this study demonstrate that dental sealants placed in school-based settings are effective, both in terms of sealant retention and caries prevention. School-based oral health programs are a low-cost adjunct to dental site pediatric preventative health services, and may provide an additional layer of dental coverage in rural and under-served regions.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the process for selecting schools and student recruitment for this project. Explain how the parents were notified of the findings from the session. Assess dental sealant retention in this school-based population versus retention rates in the general population in this age group.

Keyword(s): Oral Health Outcomes, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on this project for the past two years and developed the evaluation strategy. I analyzed these data and worked with the co-authors to write the abstract and the manuscript that is ready for presentation.
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.