Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries
School Based Dental Sealant Demonstration Project- Archived Summary
The Louisiana Oral Health Program conducted a school based dental sealant demonstration project to assess cost-effectiveness and to improve the existing sealant services provided by the Oral Health Program. The demonstration served as a pilot to improve service delivery and increase dental care to the underserved population. The demonstration project targeted 2nd and 6th grade students at two schools in two different parishes during April and May of 2009.
The demonstration project was organized and supervised by the Oral Health Program’s Dental Sealant Coordinator. Two schools were selected: (1) St. Paul Lutheran School (a small private school in an urban area of Orleans Parish), and (2) Ossun Elementary School (a medium size public school in a rural area of Lafayette Parish). Both schools met the sealant program’s eligibility requirement of at least 50% enrolled students on free or reduced lunch meals. Providers delivered chair-side oral health education. Each child received a “goody bag” with toothpaste, toothbrush, floss and a selection of school supplies. In total, for both schools, 77 students were screened and 221 sealants were placed. Each school had a different sealant demonstration event set-up.
A comparison of the two sealant demonstration events showed the following:
(1) St. Paul Lutheran School:
- 1 dentist, 1 expanded duty dental assistant, 1 hygienist
- 1 delivery day of 6 hours
- Eligible 2nd & 6th grade students = 40
- Students participated = 21 (52% of eligible 2nd & 6th grade students)
- Sealants placed = 58
- Event cost = $1,740 (based on SEALS Cost Analysis Data)
- Estimated Medicaid reimbursement = $3,101 (based on $30 paid per sealant)
- Cost per child sealed = $172.28
(2) Ossun Elementary School:
- 1 dentist, 3 hygienists
- 2 delivery days of 5 hrs; day 1 with dentist and hygienists, day 2 with 2 hygienists
- Eligible 2nd & 6th grade students = 288
- Students participated = 56 (19% of eligible 2nd & 6th grade students)
- Sealants placed = 163
- Event cost = $3,163 (based on SEALS Cost Analysis Data)
- Estimated Medicaid reimbursement = $4,890 (based on $30 paid per sealant)
- Cost per child sealed = $70.29
The Sealant Efficiency Assessment for Locals and States (SEALS was used to analyze the unit cost (cost per child and cost per sealant) to determine cost-effectiveness. SEALS showed that the St. Paul School’s sealant event was not as cost-effective as Ossun Elementary school event. The cost per child sealed at the St. Paul School was $172.28, almost 2.5 times the cost per child sealed at the Ossun School ($70.29). Even though St. Paul’s percentage of student participants was higher (52%), the small number of students participating in the sealant demonstration project affected the unit cost.
The actual number of participating students in each school is an important factor in a cost-effective school-based sealant program. To increase cost effectiveness for services at small schools such as St. Paul, the sealant program will need to consider expanding services to other grades to expand the eligible pool of students. To increase participation rate in all schools, the program will need to re-evaluate its pre-service delivery process.
Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:
Susan Jeansonne, Interim Director, Oral Health Program, Office of Public Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital, 628 N. 4th Street, P.O. Box 3214, Bin 4, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3214, Phone: 225-342-7973, Fax: 225-342-2256, Email: Susan.Jeansonne@LA.Gov
Rishu Garg, Epidemiologist, Office of Public Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 628 North 4th Street Bin 4, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, Phone: 225-342-2645, Fax: 225-342-2256, Email: Rishu.firstname.lastname@example.org