CHICAGO (Jan. 8, 2013)—Today, the Pew Center on the States released a report, “Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants,” claiming that not enough is being done on a state level to provide dental sealants to low-income children. This report asserts that two-thirds of all states do not have sealant programs in a majority of high-need schools, and that a rule requiring a dentist to be present when dental sealants are performed on children is making these sealant programs less effective.
“While sealants are an important preventive measure for tooth decay in children, we should be mindful of ensuring that sealants are applied safely and effectively,” says AGD president Jeffrey M. Cole, DDS, MBA, FAGD. “Our children should receive the best quality of care, and that is why sealants should only be placed after a diagnosis by and under the supervision of a licensed dentist.”
The Pew report gave 20 states, including Mississippi, a “failing” grade when it came to providing children with dental sealants. However, AGD Speaker of the House W. Mark Donald, DMD, MAGD, of Louisville, Miss., has seen an encouraging increase in sealant programs in schools throughout his state.
“We’ve urged dentists to get involved in these school-based sealant programs, and they have responded positively,” says Dr. Donald. “When the dentist and the hygienist work together, naturally the result is an increase, not a decrease, in the number of sealants being performed on children. Dentists want to be a part of these types of programs, and the children benefit from the dental team concept of oral health care delivery.”
More than 16 million U.S. children suffer from dental decay, and research shows that many parents lack basic information about oral health. The AGD believes that no child should experience pain or suffer broader health issues resulting from untreated dental disease and conditions.
“Our organization is always hard at work to raise awareness on the importance of good oral health,” adds Dr. Cole. “A dentist plays a vital role in providing safe and cost-effective care in the prevention of childhood dental decay.”
About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. AGD members stay up-to-date in their profession through a commitment to continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD is the second largest dental association in the United States, and it is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management, and overall coordination of services related to patients’ oral health needs. For more information about the AGD, visit agd.org.