School dental programs

Program basics

  • Partnerships between dental practices and schools that provide K-12 students with dental care
  • May offer sealant treatment and other preventative dental care
  • Provided by dental professionals, often from federally qualified health centers via mobile vans as well as other private and public entities
  • Often serving school districts with high proportions of low-income children and districts in rural areas

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Lower incidence of cavities
  • Sealant treatments reduced future incidence of cavities

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Programs should prioritize safety of children in a school environment and during medical procedures
  • Integrating oral health care curricula into schooling and/or programs like HeadStart can improve outcomes
  • Programs should identify and prioritize school districts that are in greater need and ensure minimal loss of class time for students
  • Partnerships with local health officials and community health workers can improve case management, referrals, enrollment, and access to other dental and health care services

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