Released by: Health Services
For Immediate Release

Department of Health Services Launches School-based Dental Sealant Program

Santa Rosa, CA  –  October 28, 2013  –  This week, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and Community Action Partnership (CAP) are launching a school-based dental program to provide children with protective sealants on their teeth. This initiative will be piloted at Bellevue Union School District's 4 elementary schools and 2 elementary schools in Petaluma. There will be no cost to families. Additional County public schools will be served after evaluation of the pilot. Along with the recent Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life educational campaign, this program promotes dental health in Sonoma County, with a special focus on children. The educational campaign focuses on steps to prevent dental decay and on resources for accessing dental care in Sonoma County.

Healthy Teeth

"With an estimated 5 of every 10 Sonoma County children suffering from dental decay, we need to assure access to effective preventive treatments, like dental sealants," stated Dr. Lynn Silver Chalfin, Sonoma County Health Officer. "We are very excited about this great partnership with CAP and our local schools and hope to expand the program throughout the county over the coming years."

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are put onto the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth. The sealant creates a protective barrier that keeps food from getting trapped in the grooves of the tooth, reducing the risk of decay. Health professionals recommend that children get sealants on their first permanent molars around the age of 6 or 7, and on the second permanent molar around age 12.

"When the Department of Health Services approached our School District about this pilot program, we were absolutely thrilled," stated Dr. Alicia Henderson, Bellevue Union School District Superintendent. "Dental problems can affect a child's ability to learn and pay attention in school, and anything we can do to help facilitate improved dental health for our students is a win."

The program will take about 6 weeks from start to finish at each school. Students whose parents have signed consents will be eligible to participate. Dental professionals will first conduct exams on all the students whose parents consent to determine which children's teeth are ready. Children in whom other dental problems are identified will be referred for care.

The on-site dental services are expected to place sealants on the teeth of over 300 students during the initial pilot period.

"The unfortunate fact is that each day in Sonoma County nearly a dozen children need to undergo surgery under general anesthesia to repair teeth damaged from dental decay," said Dr. Susan Cooper, who, along with Kathy Kane, Registered Hygienist, is the lead organizer of the pilot program with Community Action Partnership. "Dental sealants along with community water fluoridation are two of the top ways to help reduce the incidence of dental disease in children. I am so pleased that the County is making dental health a top priority."

For more information on the Department's Dental Sealant Program or the Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life campaign, please contact the County at Dentalinfo@Sonoma-County.org. Visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/#!/SonomaCountyDHS


Contact Information

Communications Manager
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Health Services Administration
1450 Neotomas Avenue

Suite 200

Santa Rosa, CA 95405
38.433274, -122.684236