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Office of oral health

Children's Dental Disease Prevention Program: School-Based and School-Linked Programs

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), community-clinical linkages are defined as connections between community and clinical sectors to improve population health – both working to improve the health of people and the communities in which they live.

School-based/linked dental sealant programs are examples of a community-clinical linkage model where screening, counseling, provision of topical fluoride and sealants, referral, and follow up occur in a school setting. School sealant programs are a highly effective way to deliver sealants to children who are less likely to receive private dental care. Programs that deliver sealants to children at high risk for tooth decay also save money. Each tooth sealed saves more than $11 in dental treatment costs. 

Guidelines and Literature

  • Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing Dental Caries: School-based Dental Sealant Delivery Programs. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Community Preventive Services Task Force; 2016. It provides evidence-based findings and recommendations about community preventive services, programs, and other interventions aimed at improving population health. These findings are listed on The Community Guide.
  • National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. School-Based Dental Sealant Programs: It provides a series of modules designed to ensure that school-based dental sealant program staff have a thorough understanding of the history, operations, and underlying principles of these programs.
  • Seal America: The Prevention Invention is designed to assist health professionals in launching and sustaining school-based dental sealant programs. In addition to offering a step-wise approach for planning and implementing school-based dental sealant programs, this manual addresses issues related to referring students with unmet oral health needs to a dental clinic or office.
  • Rural Health Information Hub School-Based Model: It describes services provided in school dental programs, implementation considerations, and resources. 


ASTDD School Dental Sealant Programs White Paper (PDF)

CDC School Sealant Programs

UCSF California Oral Health Technical Assistance Center

School-Based Dental Sealant Programs

Virtual Dental Home

Community Engagement and Partnership Development Through Designing a Care Coordination Program (PDF)

Community-Clinical Linkages for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases: A Practitioner's Guide (PDF)

Presentations and Webinars

Part 1: Community-Clinical Linkages: Implementing School-Based/Linked Programs and Integrating Dental Referrals (PDF)

Part 2: Implementing School-Based/Linked Programs and Integrating Dental Referrals (PDF)

Part 3: Planning for School-Based/Linked Programs and Integrating Dental Referrals

Implementing School-Based Sealant Programs (PDF) 

Toolkit Items

Lunch and Learn Parts 1-3_Q and A _11-5-21 (PDF)

KOHA Toolkit Working with Schools (PDF)

Sample MOU from MCAH for Working with Schools (.rtf)

Summary of Case Studies of Innovative Sealant Program Models (PDF)

School Nurses: Pocket Guide to Oral Health Screening (PDF)

School Linked Dental Program: A Guide for Local Oral Health Programs (PDF)​​

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