5.1 Effective Program Operations

photo of girlTo be effective, school-based dental sealant programs must

  • Serve children at high risk for dental caries.
  • Provide high-quality dental sealants with good retention rates.
  • Apply sealants efficiently, so that as many children as possible receive sealants.

In addition, most effective programs have the support of key constituencies in their communities (e.g., school administrators, school nurses, dentists). Seal America: The Prevention Invention (3rd ed.) provides useful information on how to obtain such support.

Administration and school buy-in are essential in operating a school-based dental sealant program. To operate an effective program in a school, the school principal’s support is essential. One existing program has relied on a school principal to provide referrals to his or her colleagues at other schools about the program’s importance and its minimal impact on school activities. School nurses are also a great asset; they can help with tasks such as ensuring that consent forms are signed and returned and coordinating dental sealant day logistics. By collaborating with professionals that work with children at the local level, school-based programs can help prevent dental caries among children at high risk throughout the state.