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Delta Dental Invests in Seal-A-Smile Program

By Portage County Business Council

This article was provided from Delta Dental of Wisconsin 

Investment in free oral exams and preventive care helps address lack of coverage

Studies show that 75 percent of teeth with dental sealants remain cavity-free, compared to less than 33 percent of unsealed teeth. This powerful statistic is the foundation of Wisconsin’s highly effective and successful Seal-A-Smile program, which works to ensure school children throughout Wisconsin receive oral health education, dental cleanings, and sealants when necessary. Today, Delta Dental of Wisconsin announced their continuing commitment to the Seal-A-Smile program with a $350,000 grant for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Seal-A-Smile program helps prevent tooth decay and promotes good oral health. It provids an oral exam and, when needed, fluoride varnish and sealants to children at no cost to the parents or caregivers. It is collaboratively administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Children’s Health Alliance, and delivers critical oral health education to 48,000 students annually and places sealants on more than 25,000 children each year.

By targeting schools where 35 percent or more of the students are eligible for free and reduced meals, the Seal-A-Smile program provides services for thousands of youth who are uninsured or have Medicaid dental coverage.

According to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts, Wisconsin’s Medicaid reimbursements are some of the lowest in the nation and typically do not cover the dentist’s costs for treatment. As such, Wisconsin currently ranks second to last in the percentage of children with Medicaid coverage who visited the dentist in the past year.

“By placing sealants on the molars of school-age children, we can prevent dental pain and improve the oral health and overall well-being of Wisconsin’s youth,” stated Ann Boson, Charitable Fund Director for Delta Dental of Wisconsin. “While we need to address Wisconsin’s low Medicaid fees for pediatric dental services, we can’t ignore the lack of preventive care until that change occurs.”

This is the eighth year in a row that Delta Dental is partnering with the state of Wisconsin to fund the Seal-A-Smile program. To date, Delta Dental of Wisconsin has provided more than $2.2 million to the program.