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Align Technology Donation Benefits America's ToothFairy Oral Health Education Program

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Tooth decay is the most prevalent childhood disease, and—if left untreated—can lead to pain, embarrassment, and life-threatening infections. In the United States, children aged 2 to 11 from low-income households have more severe cases of tooth decay and are less likely to have access to dental care. In an ongoing effort to spread awareness of the consequences of poor oral hygiene and educate children about how to maintain healthy smiles, Align Technology, a global medical device company with industry-leading innovative products including the Invisalign® system, iTero® intraoral scanners and digital services, and exocad CAD/CAM software, is working with America’s ToothFairy as Title Sponsor of its Health Education Resources and Outreach (HERO) Program. The community outreach program provides oral health education resources to nonprofit dental clinics, public health organizations, educators and volunteers.

Align’s recent $100,000 donation marks their 13th year of support for America’s ToothFairy, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to safety-net dental clinics and oral health organizations serving children with restricted access to dental care. To date, Align has provided more than $1.8 million dollars toward operational expenses and children’s oral health programs, helping nearly 8.9 million children and their caregivers learn about the prevention of dental disease.

“Tooth decay doesn’t stop for a pandemic,” said Jill Malmgren, Executive Director of America’s ToothFairy. “With support from Align, last year we were able to quickly shift our educational efforts to provide free resources online so that kids could learn how to prevent tooth decay from their homes. Since April nearly 600,000 kids have been reached using our downloadable educational resources. We are very excited to see what we will accomplish in the coming year with the renewed commitment of this long-standing partnership.”

“At Align we understand that a healthy, beautiful smile can have an enormous impact on a child’s self-esteem and future success,” said Julie Paulsen, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Align Technology, and member of the Board of Directors at America’s ToothFairy. “We are proud to partner with America’s ToothFairy and support their efforts to ensure that more children have access to dental care and education.”

To learn more about the impact America’s ToothFairy made on the oral health of children in 2020, visit

About Align Technology, Inc.

Align Technology designs, manufactures and offers the Invisalign® system, the most advanced clear aligner system in the world, iTero® intraoral scanners and services, and exocad CAD/CAM software. These technology building blocks enable enhanced digital orthodontic and restorative workflows to improve patient outcomes and practice efficiencies for over 200 thousand doctor customers and is key to accessing Align’s 500 million consumer market opportunity worldwide. Align has helped doctors treat over 9.6 million patients with the Invisalign system and is driving the evolution in digital dentistry through the Align Digital Platform, our integrated suite of unique, proprietary technologies and services delivered as a seamless, end-to-end solution for patients and consumers, orthodontists and GP dentists, and lab/partners. Visit for more information.

For additional information about the Invisalign system or to find an Invisalign doctor in your area, please visit For additional information about the iTero systems and services, please visit For additional information about exocad dental CAD/CAM offerings and a list of exocad reseller partners, please visit

About America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation

As a resource provider, America’s ToothFairy increases access to oral health care by supporting nonprofit clinics and community partners delivering education, prevention and treatment services for underserved children. Since its inception in 2006, America’s ToothFairy has distributed more than $22 million in donated products, educational materials and financial grants to improve oral health outcomes for children and youth in need. For more information, visit  

Penn Dental Medicine creates free CE series to improve access to care for patients with disabilities

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine announced March 26 that it is establishing a new continuing education series to help improve access to dental care for people with disabilities.

The series is created with the support of a $50,000 gift from Delta Dental Foundation, which funds an online professional development program designed to help oral health professionals better understand and care for patients with disabilities.

“We are dedicated to not only educating our students, but also practicing clinicians in caring for persons with disabilities,” said Penn Dental Medicine Dean Mark S. Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D., in a news release. “In the U.S., there are nearly 57 million people with disabilities. To serve this population, the educational paradigm must shift and the community of dental providers must be given the tools to accommodate patients with differing needs.”

The Delta Dental Foundation funds will support the creation of a series of free online courses aimed at building awareness of the barriers to equitable oral health for people with disabilities and developing competency among clinicians to provide care to this vulnerable population, according to Penn Dental Medicine.

Developed through the dental school’s Office of Continuing Education, which is an ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program provider, the series will open to all U.S. licensed dentists and their support personnel for a period of three years at no charge.

Dentists who complete 18 or more of the courses within a three-year period will receive a certificate of completion from Penn Dental Medicine as a disabilities dentistry clinician expert.

“When it comes to accessing dental care, people with disabilities are hugely underserved,” said Holli Seabury, Ed.D., executive director of the Delta Dental Foundation. “We’re proud to support and promote this program, which will doubtless ensure more oral health professionals can deliver the high-quality, respectful dental care people with disabilities deserve.”

The first courses to launch the series are available at    

Four Earn Prestigious AO Certificate in Implant Dentistry

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Four members of the Academy of Osseointegration (AO) have been recognized as recently earning the AO Certificate in Implant Dentistry.

A number of years ago, the Academy launched its Certificate in Implant Dentistry, which provides members the opportunity to demonstrate their comprehensive education and clinical experience and expand their core knowledge in the field of implant dentistry. It also allows them to demonstrate their commitment to AO.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic having forced the Academy to cancel its 2020 Annual Meeting, members who have qualified for this certificate from last year and this year were recently recognized for having achieved the Certificate. They are:

Yuen Lok Loretta Ching, BDS, MSD, assistant clinical professor, Department of General Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Loma Linda University. “Achieving the AO Certificate in Implant Dentistry is a great honor to me. It is an important recognition and continuous reminder that I must strive to keep up my work and aim at becoming a better implantologist.”

Jorge Mauricio Hervas, DDS, MS, who graduated from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. A member of the Academy for the last 16 years, he remains active in his private practice and the various faculty positions he holds at Nova Southern University.

Robert H. Sattler, DMD, a general practitioner in a family private practice in Southampton, PA. He graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry and is also in private practice. Dr. Sattler has been a member of the Academy for more than 20 years and remains very active his community.

Amerian D. Sones, DMD, MS, prosthodontist and AO Board of Directors Vice President is the final recipient. She is director of the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Texas A&M and graduated from UCLA School of Dentistry. In addition to also serving as the Global University Task Force Lead, Dr. Sones has been the main driver of the Certificate program since its inception at the Academy’s 2016 Annual Meeting.

“Achieving this special award is especially meaningful to me as a long-time member and leader of the Academy, as it clearly challenged me to bring my very best,” said Dr. Sones. “The four required clinical cases comprehensively questioned my knowledge and skill in dental implant treatment planning. I found it to be much more demanding and time consuming than I originally anticipated. However, the effort devoted to applying was so worthwhile on a personal level.” 

exocad announces DentalCAD 3.0 Galway

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

exocad GmbH, an Align Technology, Inc. company, today announced that DentalCAD 3.0 Galway, with new additional improvements to reduce design time, is currently being rolled out to end users by exocad distributors. With this new release, initially made available to distributors in December 2020, the company introduced the new Instant Anatomic Morphing, offering automatic adaptation of teeth in real time, with improved speed and precision for the anatomic tooth placement.

“We have systematically analyzed which steps dental technicians around the world spend the most time on during restorative design," said Tillmann Steinbrecher, exocad CEO. “Based on the extensive analysis, we developed technologies such as the new Instant Anatomic Morphing, which enables users to reduce design time by as much as 20-30%, on average."*

“Thanks to the advanced process automation, dental technicians will get from the automatic proposal to their individual design goal faster, as the anatomy of teeth is adjusted in real-time with each movement, resulting in a major increase in productivity,” added Steinbrecher.

With the new Galway release, exocad additionally introduced AI technology for its Smile Creator. Facial features are automatically detected to achieve an esthetic proposal faster to save valuable time when designing cases. Another new feature offers printable clip-on mockups of the planned anatomic result. Instead of a purely visual representation of the smile makeover on screen, patients can physically experience their new smile with try-ins, resulting in higher patient engagement and opening up new possibilities in consultation.

Inspired by Google Material Design, DentalCAD 3.0 Galway comes with a new, modern user interface and improved integration with exoplan, exocad's implant planning software. All features of the new release are built to improve ease of use in CAD design and to expand the possibilities of digital dentistry.

With this new release, exocad introduces 90 new and 80 optimized features. Key highlights of DentalCAD 3.0 Galway include:

 - New Instant Anatomic Morphing for reduced design time and increased productivity

 - AI-assisted technology for Smile Creator: facial features are automatically detected for faster smile design

 - Parametric shape adjustment: all tooth libraries are continuously adjustable from a newer to an older anatomy, seamlessly applying natural abrasion to all selected teeth

 - New and modern exocad user interface, offering a user-centric design to make digital interaction as fluid, intuitive, and efficient as possible

 - New tools for easy and intuitive controlling of the individual path of insertion

 - Improved bridge connector editing with split screen view and tools to change several connectors at once, for a faster workflow in every anatomic situation

 - Mockup tooth setups for improved patient communication. Clip-on try-ins, wax-up models, virtually prepared models, and virtual tooth extractions are now supported

 - Model Creator now supports conical stump dies for easier fitting even with lower accuracy printers

 - Bite Splint Module can now add anatomic shapes directly to the designed bite splints

DentalCAD 3.0 Galway is available immediately worldwide and can be accessed by all users with a valid upgrade contract. exocad names its releases after current “European Capitals of Culture” and selected the Irish city of Galway for this release.

Additional information is available at

*User test performed in February 2020. Data on file.

Study: Medicaid dental coverage helps enrollees seek new jobs, do better at ones they have

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A University of Michigan study suggests that Medicaid’s dental coverage has improved enrollees’ health in ways that have helped them seek a new job or do better at the one they have.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry by a team from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, focused on the impact of dental coverage offered through Michigan's Medicaid expansion, known as the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The university’s researchers used a survey and interviews to assess the impact of this coverage on the health and lives of low-income people who enrolled in Medicaid.

“Many enrollees spoke passionately and sometimes joyously about how having dental benefits had changed, and in some cases, saved their lives,” said Edith Kieffer, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor emeritus at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. “Some were able to access dental care for the first time ever, or in many years, because of this coverage. The role of getting dentures in literally changing lives was a revelation.”

In all, 60% of the 4,090 enrollees had visited a dentist at least once since enrolling in the Healthy Michigan Plan a year or two earlier, which the researchers verified with state records. Among those who saw a dentist in that time, 57% said their oral health had improved since enrolling.

The percentage who reported better oral health was even higher among Black respondents and those who said they'd been uninsured for a year or more before getting covered.

Half of the respondents had jobs or were self-employed, though their incomes were low enough to qualify for the Healthy Michigan Plan — about $15,600 for an individual during the time studied.

Of those who had jobs and reported improved oral health, 76% said that their Healthy Michigan Plan coverage had helped them do a better job at work, compared to 65% of those who had jobs but hadn't experienced improvements in oral health.

Meanwhile, 60% of the unemployed people who said their oral health had improved credited their coverage with helping them look for a job.

The Healthy Michigan Plan includes basic dental care coverage such as cleanings, fillings, X-rays and dentures, and is open to people making up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Enrollment has grown to more than 895,000, showing the need for programs such as The Healthy Michigan Plan, Dr. Kieffer said.

“More than 700,000 Michigan residents have contracted COVID-19 with the resulting health impacts of the disease, and the social and economic impacts of quarantine, job and wage loss,” she said. “More than 17,000 people have died and thousands of survivors are suffering longer-term health effects.”

Some enrollees mentioned that previously they had turned to hospital emergency departments for urgent dental needs. The study's authors noted that Medicaid coverage in Michigan improves patients' access to primary health care as well as basic dental care. In both settings, providers can identify patients at risk of oral health problems and suggest treatments for problems so they can be addressed before they worsen.

Study co-author Romesh Nalliah, professor at the university’s school of dentistry, said that the inclusion of adult dental coverage in Medicaid and other plans could help reduce the disparities in oral health that he and others have documented.

In 2019, Mr. Nalliah and colleagues published data showing that while the oral health gap between Black and white Americans had narrowed between 1999 and 2014 — the year before Medicaid expansion took effect under the Affordable Care Act — there were still disparities in dental visits and tooth loss due to caries and gum disease.

“We concluded that although there seems to be evidence of equality, equity still eludes us,” Mr. Nalliah said.

Ultimately, oral health has important influences on people's overall health, Dr. Kieffer said, especially those who are low-income.

“Oral infections, abscesses, ulcerations and inflammation from periodontal disease are important components of overall health, affecting multiple body systems and functioning,” she said. “There is evidence that poor oral health influences diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and pregnancy-related risks. Poor condition of the teeth and gums affects nutritional adequacy, and mental health due to embarrassment, anxiety and reduced social interaction and self-esteem. Pain disrupts sleep and other aspects of physical and emotional well-being. Good oral health promotes overall physical and mental health.”    

SARS-CoV-2 positivity in asymptomatic-screened dental patients

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Asymptomatic carriage of SARS-CoV-2 is a potentially significant source of transmission, yet remains relatively poorly understood. The study "SARS-CoV-2 Positivity in Asymptomatic-screened Dental Patients" published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection in asymptomatic dental patients to inform community surveillance and improve understanding of risks in the dental setting.

Thirty-one dental care centers across Scotland invited asymptomatic screened patients over the age of five to participate. During the patient visit, trained dental teams took a combined oropharyngeal and nasal swab sample using standardized Viral Transport Medium containing test kits. Over a 13-week period, 4,032 patients were tested and of these 22 (0.5%; 95%CI 0.5%, 0.8%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The positivity rate increased over the period, commensurate with uptick in community prevalence identified across all national testing monitoring data streams. The COVID-19 positivity rate in this patient group reflected the underlying prevalence in the community at the time.

This surveillance program had several advantages including using trained dental teams for the collection of high quality and complete data and samples. Moreover, there was no need for the clinical teams to use additional personal protective equipment as they were already wearing it to provide dental care and the patients could receive care despite periods of lockdown restriction.

"Enhanced community surveillance is a key pillar of the public health response to COVID-19. The results of this study demonstrate the value in, and feasibility of, developing and implementing SARS-CoV-2 surveillance testing within dental settings," said JDR Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Jakubovics, Newcastle University, England. "These data are also a salient reminder of the importance of appropriate ongoing infection prevention control and personal protective equipment vigilance."

About the Journal of Dental Research

The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR) is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. The JDR ranks #3 in Impact Factor of 91 journals, #2 without self-citations, as well as #2 of 91 in Article Influence with a score of 1.627. The JDR's 5-year Impact Factor remained above 5 for the fifth year at 5.844 -- ranking #2 of 91 journals. With over 20,000 citations, the JDR also boasts the most citations in the "Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine" category, over 3,500 citations above the 2nd ranked journal in the field.

International Association for Dental Research

The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, with a Mission to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being worldwide. To learn more, visit The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR with 3,100 members in the United States. To learn more, visit


BIOLASE Announces Collaboration with Einstein Healthcare Network's Residency in Endodontics

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

BIOLASE, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOL), the global leader in dental lasers, today announced a pilot program with Einstein Healthcare Network's residency in endodontics to train endodontic residents in the use of Waterlase dental lasers. The goal of the program is to offer residents hands-on experience with dental lasers that are already in use across the industry, allowing residents to immediately implement their training when joining a future practice.

"BIOLASE has a deep commitment to the endodontic specialty," said John Beaver, President and CEO of BIOLASE. "It is important for us to live out our mission of advancing dentistry by empowering the next generation of endodontists from Einstein. We are honored to be part of not only the residents' future careers by arming them with innovative technologies, but also the future relationships they will build with their patients by offering a less invasive and more positive experience."

Einstein Healthcare Network's residency in endodontics is one of the first hospital-based endodontic programs approved by the American Dental Association. The residency is a 24-month program that admits two residents each year, preparing graduates to practice, teach and conduct independent research.

"We are committed to actively seeking out ways to help our residents feel fully equipped to enter into endodontic practice after leaving our program," said Frederic Barnett, DMD, Chairman of the Department of Dental Medicine, and Chair and Program Director of Postdoctoral Endodontics at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. "Partnering with BIOLASE to integrate laser assisted endodontic training early on in our residents' careers allows us to tighten the learning curve, which can positively impact a practice's bottom line and ultimately provide a better patient experience overall."

The Waterlase dental laser offers various benefits for endodontists, from faster procedures to new treatment options. Educating endodontists about the benefits of dental lasers is part of BIOLASE's continued effort to help improve patient experiences and outcomes. This announcement comes on the heels of the recently developed Waterlase Endo Academy, open to all Waterlase endodontists. Learn more about the benefits of laser dentistry in endodontics at

About BIOLASE, Inc.

BIOLASE is a medical device company that develops, manufactures, markets, and sells laser systems in dentistry and medicine. BIOLASE's products advance the practice of dentistry and medicine for patients and healthcare professionals. BIOLASE's proprietary laser products incorporate approximately 271 patented and 40 patent-pending technologies designed to provide biologically and clinically superior performance with less pain and faster recovery times.

BIOLASE's innovative products provide cutting-edge technology at competitive prices to deliver superior results for dentists and patients. BIOLASE's principal products are revolutionary dental laser systems that perform a broad range of dental procedures, including cosmetic and complex surgical applications. BIOLASE has sold over 41,200 laser systems to date in over 80 countries around the world. Laser products under development address BIOLASE's core dental market and other adjacent medical and consumer applications.

For updates and information on Waterlase iPlus®, Waterlase Express™, and laser dentistry, find BIOLASE online at, Facebook at, Twitter at, Instagram at, and LinkedIn at

BIOLASE®, Waterlase® and Waterlase iPlus® are registered trademarks of BIOLASE, Inc.

About Einstein Healthcare Network

Einstein Healthcare Network is a healthcare system with approximately 1,000 beds and more than 8,700 employees serving the communities of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, Pa. The Network is made up of three acute care hospitals including Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, the largest independent academic medical center in the Philadelphia region training over 3,500 health professional students each year with more than 450 residents and fellows in over 35 accredited programs; Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park; and Einstein Medical Center Montgomery. The Network also includes MossRehab, consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top rehabilitation hospital in the nation; Willowcrest, named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best nursing homes for short-term rehabilitation care in Philadelphia; outpatient care centers; and a network of more than 900 primary care physicians and specialists throughout the region. For more information, visit

Sunstar Conversations Pro Series

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021

After the success of SUNSTAR CONVERSATIONS: healthy thinking series in 2020, we wanted to continue focusing on online education and expert knowledge sharing in 2021. That is how the concept of the SUNSTAR CONVERSATIONS PRO webinars was born: led by experts and dedicated to health professionals.      

In line with the holistic philosophy of SUNSTAR, we decided to focus this series on the different mouth caring requirements throughout the lifespan and the conditions that may occur.

Each webinar will be dedicated to one specific life stage, from pregnancy to childhood, adulthood and finally the ageing period, and will involve two health experts who will share their experience and discuss their opinion on the specific topic.

SUNSTAR CONVERSATIONS PRO will take place every month until October and will end up with a special session about the oral care tips for healthcare professionals. The month of November will be dedicated to a series about the relationships between oral health oral health and systemic health.

After the live stream, all the webinars will be available on our Sunstar Global YouTube channel.


AAOMS advocates for legislation to provide insurance coverage for congenital craniofacial anomalies

Posted on Friday, March 26, 2021

All private group and individual health insurance plans would be required to cover medically necessary services resulting from birth defects under bipartisan federal legislation introduced this week in both the House and Senate.

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act – championed by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) – was re-introduced March 16 by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) along with U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), who also is a dentist.

The legislation (S 754/HR 1916) would address delays and denials in coverage (including plans regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) to ensure patients suffering from birth defects, also known as congenital anomalies, receive the treatment they need in a timely manner. These treatments could include adjunctive dental, orthodontic or prosthodontic support. The bill excludes coverage for cosmetic surgery to reshape normal structures of the body to improve appearance or self-esteem.

While many private health insurance companies cover preliminary procedures for congenital anomalies, they routinely deny or delay follow-up or corrective procedures – notably, dental-related procedures involving orthodontia and dental implants – deeming them cosmetic or covered by dental plans.

Severe dental anomalies are a common symptom of many craniofacial anomaly conditions, but coverage limits in dental plans are not nearly as robust as that of health plans. As a result, patients are often forced to incur significant out-of-pocket costs on medically necessary reconstructive dental care related to their disorder during their lifetime.

"AAOMS is passionate about advocating for health coverage on behalf of our patients with craniofacial anomalies," said AAOMS President B.D. Tiner, DDS, MD, FACS. "We were disappointed that – despite more than 300 bipartisan House cosponsors and 50 bipartisan Senate cosponsors – the 116th Congress did not pass the bill. We look forward to working with the bill sponsors and other patient and provider organizations to get this bill over the finish line this Congress."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies birth defects as "common, costly and critical" and reports that one in 33 U.S. newborns suffers from a congenital anomaly. Craniofacial anomalies – deformities in the growth of the bones in the head and face – can restrict a patient's ability to breathe, eat and speak. Early intervention by a team of specialists – including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, dermatologists and speech therapists – is regarded as necessary to assess and oversee the patient's treatment and development, often over the course of many years.

Sens. Baldwin and Ernst sponsored this important legislation in the last Congress. Reps. Eshoo and Ferguson were brought on as new lead sponsors in the House. For Rep. Ferguson, the issue hits close to home.

"As a practicing dentist for nearly 25 years, building better smiles was my career, and it continues to be a top priority of mine in Congress," Rep. Ferguson said. "The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act would require all private, individual healthcare plans to cover medically necessary dental services, including reconstructive surgeries that are a result of congenital anomalies or birth defects. This life-changing bill will give families the opportunity to save for their children's futures by addressing a loophole that has long allowed insurance companies to routinely deny oral or dental claims for medically necessary treatments."

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act is supported by more than 30 health professional and patient advocacy organizations, including AAOMS, the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Dental Association and National Organization for Rare Disorders.

The experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery® — The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) is the professional organization representing more than 11,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons, OMS residents and OMS professional staff in the United States. AAOMS supports its fellows' and members' ability to practice their specialty through education, research and advocacy. AAOMS fellows and members comply with rigorous continuing education requirements and submit to periodic office anesthesia evaluations. For additional information about oral and maxillofacial surgery, visit the AAOMS websites at and

SOURCE American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

New York State Dental Association Program

Posted on Friday, March 26, 2021

After a mandated shutdown imposed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Dental Association successfully advocated, in conjunction with New York School Based Health Alliance and Community Healthcare Association of New York, to reopen school-based health dental services in school settings. With these programs cleared to resume, critical dental care and screenings will once again be administered to children in grades Pre-K through 12 who rely on these services and who have otherwise gone untreated or unscreened since March 2020.

School-based Health Centers (SBHC) provide primary health, dental health, mental health and counseling and chronic illness management without concern for the student's ability to pay and in a location that meets students where they are, at school. SBHCs serve urban, suburban and rural communities.

New York State provides funding, staffing and support for over 300 SBHCs statewide. Teledentistry filled the gap during the closure to address the needs of students and mitigate emergency department visits for oral health-related problems.

These SBHCs look different in each school across the state. Depending on the district and availability, many students are served by way of portable dental equipment or a mobile dental clinic that visits the school site periodically. In other instances, there is a dental suite, similar to a dental office, built within the school. Registered dental hygienists work in collaborative agreements with supervising dentists from sponsoring hospitals to provide preventative care and screenings in a variety of these settings. Students are then referred to dentists for restorative care.

"The residual effects of not meeting the oral health needs of children during the pandemic will have a lasting impact," said Mark J. Feldman, DMD, executive director, New York State Dental Association. "We are thankful the NYSDOH has issued new guidance to allow School-based Health Centers to regularly see patients once again. NYSDA has always supported access to care for children and adults."

According to a study published by the Journal of School Health, two urban high schools in Western New York found that students with access to an SBHC were significantly less likely to be sent home during the school day than those who did not have access. The study concluded that SBHCs were able to increase student learning, also called "seat time."

About New York State Dental Association:

The New York State Dental Association, founded in 1868, is one of the largest state constituents of the American Dental Association and represents more than 70 percent of dentists practicing in New York State. Founded in 1859, the American Dental Association is the oldest and largest national dental society in the world and serves as the leading source of oral health-related information for dentists and their patients.


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