The Office of Oral Health offers continuing education credits to Dentists and Dental Hygienists through the Maryland Mighty Tooth School-Based Dental Sealant Training Program. Dental professionals can receive 2 continuing education credits for completion of the Maryland Mighty Tooth School-Based Dental Sealant Training Program.
The Office of Oral Health has oral health brochures available at no cost to health professionals and the general public. Visit the Request Printed Materials page to download a dental sealant brochure and other oral health brochures.
Dental Health Care professionals are encouraged to provide dental sealants to children, particularly to those children who are most at-risk. The definition of dental caries risk varies between clinical and school settings. Dental caries risk assessment in clinical settings describes those most at risk as: low-income, past caries history, positive family history of caries, low fluoride exposure, poor oral hygiene and dietary personal behaviors, and lacking a dental home. School-based sealant programs generally identify at-risk children as those participating in a Free or Reduced Federal Meal Program or attending a Title I school.
Public health dental sealant programs include both school-based and school-linked components.
School-based dental sealant programs provide screening, education, and dental sealant application in a school setting. Often times, dental teams set up in gyms, stages, unused rooms, nurses’ offices or school based health centers to provide these services in an efficient manner to a large number of children.
School-linked sealant programs provide screening and education within a school and refer those students that are in need of dental sealants and/or treatment, and do not have a dental home, back to their dental clinic. Those with a dental home are referred back to their private dentist.
The Maryland Public Health Dental Hygiene Act, passed in 2008, enables public health dental hygienists to practice under general supervision in off-site settings such as schools, Head Start and WIC programs without a dentist being physically present and/or examining the patient first. To become a public health dental hygienist, one must be a dental hygienist, licensed in Maryland, and have at least 2 years of direct clinical care experience.
Medical professionals are encouraged to refer their patients to a dental home by age one and ensure oral health remains a priority throughout the lifespan. The Maryland Oral Health Resource Guide can be used as a referral tool. The mouth serves as the gateway to the body and can be indicative of several medical disorders including: inflammatory diseases, low birth weight infants, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, diabetes and eating disorders. Furthermore, several medical disorders can prove detrimental to one’s oral health such as stress disorders, acid reflux disorder, and bulimia. It is imperative that medical and dental professionals work together to ensure the overall health of their patients.
Annually, the Office of Oral Health issues grant funding to Local Health Departments to support school-based and/or school-linked dental sealant programs. In FY15, there are 13 counties operating such programs throughout the state. In FY14, 8,550 school children received 11,374 dental sealants through Office of Oral Health funded dental sealant programs. A Request for Application is generally released in March each year and award funding runs from July through June.