Seal! ND School-Based Fluoride Varnish and Dental Sealant Program
In 2012, The North Dakota Department of Health, Oral Health Program (OHP) implemented the Seal! ND School-based Fluoride Varnish and Dental Sealant Program. Public health dental hygienists visit schools two times a year (fall and spring) and provide direct preventive services, under standing orders of a dentist which include: oral health education, a screening, dental sealant and fluoride varnish application. A parent/guardian signed consent form is required to participate in the Seal! ND fluoride varnish and dental sealant program.
Services are provided to schools that are 45 percent or greater on the free and reduced-fee meal program through the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Students attending pre-kindergarten through 12th grade (depending upon the school) with parent/guardian consent are eligible to receive the free oral health services. A goody bag consisting of a result sheet (what the child had done), toothbrush, toothpaste and floss will be provided to each child that is seen.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the OHP public health hygienists attended 42 schools across North Dakota. Continued collaboration with dentists within the state continues to help expand the school-based fluoride varnish and dental sealant program to create access to care for the kids in North Dakota.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, typically the back teeth. The process to apply the sealants is quick and easy with the whole procedure taking roughly 10 minutes. Sealants prevent cavities by creating a barrier between the teeth and cavity-causing bacteria. Sealants also stop cavities from growing and can prevent the need of fillings. Sealants are 100 percent effective if they are fully retained on the tooth.
The ease of dental sealant and fluoride varnish application makes them a perfect fit for the school environment.
What is Fluoride Varnish?
Fluoride varnish is a topical fluoride that helps prevent the teeth from cavities and can prevent the need for dental fillings. If cavities are in the early stages, the fluoride can slow or even stop the cavity process which can save time, money and the discomfort that is sometimes associated with a filling. Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on the teeth to help prevent cavities and to help slow or stop cavities that have just started. The entire process is fast, painless and takes less than five minutes to apply.