In spring 2021, the Hawaii Keiki Dental Sealant Program (DSP) has received its second year of funding from the Hawaii Dental Service Foundation. This funding will continue preventative oral health services for eligible students from select Hawaii Department of Education Title I schools. The services include a dental assessment and if needed, the application of dental sealants at no-cost.
Schools are supportive environments for promoting oral health and are ideal settings to provide much needed oral health education and preventive oral health services. Providing oral health service for students can keep them smiling, improve their overall health and readiness to learn.
The DSP was first launched in February 2020 and provided services to 2nd grade students in six schools prior to the pandemic and subsequent closure of schools. A total of 106 students received oral health assessments. 51 students received dental sealants, with a total of 172 teeth sealed. At the completion of the sealant event, families received a copy of their child’s dental assessment and an oral health kit for use at home.
While the DSP team waited for schools to safely re-open, revisions to program procedures were made to provide the highest level of safety for the students as well as the sealant team members during each site visit. The dental sealant procedure changes have made the process easier for the student with less time required for the sealant application, while also eliminating the production of aerosol droplets. To further increase safety, the sealant events have been conducted outdoors to improve ventilation.
In December 2020, the dental sealant team resume their services in schools. Despite the on-going pandemic, DSP reached 14 schools on Oahu by April 2021. A total of 193 students provided a signed consent for oral assessment, with 123 students (64%) receiving dental sealants, resulting in a total of 403 teeth sealed. Five students had urgent dental needs and were referred to a dental clinic for additional services. The program will restart again in August 2021, with the addition of services on Kauai and Maui.
For more information about the Hawaii Keiki Dental Sealant Program, contact Deborah Mattheus, PhD, APRN-Rx, CPNP, senior practice director and dental sealant program director at email@example.com.