A dental sealant is a thin coating placed on the pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces of teeth where up to 80 percent of decay occurs in school children. The application requires no shots or drilling on the teeth. The surface of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and the sealant is bonded to the tooth creating a smooth surface. Sealants prevent tooth decay by blocking out decay-causing bacteria from food.
Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years. Dental sealants are most effective when applied to children who are at the highest risk of tooth decay.
he Arkansas Seal-the-State initiative began in 2007 with a two-year grant from the Daughters of Charity Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri. During the initial two-year project more than 2,000 children received dental sealants, free of charge. Currently, Seal-the-State is a cooperative effort of the ADH Office of Oral Health, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and volunteer dentists and dental hygienists.
The current partnership program uses portable, state-of-the-art dental equipment set up in schools across Arkansas to treat children at risk of tooth decay. Seal-the-State also conducts educational and awareness efforts on dental sealants using both print and broadcast media to help Arkansans understand the importance of sealants. See our Sealant Plan and Needs Assessment Plan for more information.
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