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School-Based Sealant Programs
Contact the Public Health Dental Program
Public Health Dental Program
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A14
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1724
The Public Health Dental Program’s Sealing Sunny Smiles Across Florida initiative is part of a statewide oral health plan to promote evidence-based prevention strategies in order to achieve optimal oral health for all Floridians.
County Health Departments (CHDs) administer School-Based Sealant Programs (S-BSPs) which offer preventive dental services to schools, Head Start Centers, Early Head Start Centers, Women, Infants, and Children Centers, and Early Learning Centers. Preventive services provided can include but not limited to screenings or assessments, cleanings, oral health instructions, fluoride varnish applications, dental sealants, and referrals to a dental home. S-BSPs focus on children with a high risk of cavities and those less likely to access dental care. Most programs function in Title I schools with a high free or reduced lunch population.
Currently, there are 42 Florida Department of Health CHDs that provided S-BSP services. For information on the number of children served and services provided by S-BSPs, see this infographic.
Dental sealants are the most effective way of preventing tooth decay, or cavities, in permanent molars, where more than 80% of decay occurs in the permanent teeth of children. The deep grooves and fissures of the molars allow decay to occur deep within the tooth structure where fluoride is less effective. Sealants are thin coatings applied to the tooth surface, which can help stop this decay from happening.
Dental sealants are cost effective. Every $1 invested in dental sealants applied by dental programs yields $1.98 in dental treatment savings.
The Public Health Dental Program promotes the early placement of sealants on permanent first and second molars to effectively prevent tooth decay. Additional information regarding S-BSPs is available below and by contacting the Public Health Dental Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
What colors are sealants?
Sealants may be clear, white, or tinted. Most people will not be able to see the sealant when a child smiles or talks.
Which teeth are sealed?
Back teeth, including molars and premolars, help us chew our food and may be sealed. These teeth must last a lifetime.
When should teeth be sealed?
A sealant needs to be placed as soon as permanent molars appear in the mouth. Start looking for permanent teeth when the child is 5 years old.
How are sealants applied?
It is very easy to do! First, teeth are cleaned to remove plaque and food debris. Next, a gel is applied on the chewing surface and then rinsed out with water. The tooth is dried and the sealant is painted on the grooves of the teeth. A special light is used to harden the sealant.
Who applies the dental sealant?
A licensed or certified dental professional may provide dental sealants. Sealants can be placed by professionals at Florida Department of Health dental clinics in your county, school-based sealant programs, or at local dental offices.
Will insurance pay for dental sealants?
Most insurance plans cover the cost of sealants for children. Contact your insurance provider for specific coverage details.
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