Advocacy

Dental Sealants: Access to Prevention

Children living in poverty are almost twice as likely to have developed caries in their permanent teeth as children from higher income families, but only about 20 percent of low income children have received sealants. Studies have demonstrated that sealants are effective in reducing caries experience, thereby reducing the need for treatment.

School based programs provide access to this important preventative measure for children who are the most high risk. NNOHA supports multiple models of sealant placement, including the evidence-based practice where dental hygienists are able to place sealants without a dentist’s prior exam, which reduces cost and minimizes lost school times. Click below for NNOHA’s full policy statement on dental sealants.

These resources provide important information on dental sealants and how states can expand access to this important preventative effort.

 

Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants – Pew Children’s Dental Campaign

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This report from Pew Children’s Dental Campaign reports on how each state is doing in providing this preventative service to children in the state. In addition to the full report, state specific fact sheets are available about half way down the page.

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Evidence-based clinical recommendations for the use of pit-and-fissure sealants: A report of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs – The Journal of the American Dental Association

Description

This article presents evidence-based clinical recommendations for use of pit-and-fissure sealants developed by an expert panel convened by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs.

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Preventing dental caries through school-based sealant programs: Updated recommendations and reviews of evidence – The Journal of the American Dental Association

Description

School-based sealant programs (SBSPs) increase sealant use and reduce caries. Programs target schools that serve children from low-income families and focus on sealing newly erupted permanent molars. In 2004 and 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, sponsored meetings of an expert work group to update recommendations for sealant use in SBSPs on the basis of available evidence regarding the effectiveness of sealants on sound and carious pit and fissure surfaces, caries assessment and selected sealant placement techniques, and the risk of caries’ developing in sealed teeth among children who might be lost to follow-up. The work group also identified topics for which additional evidence review was needed.

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