Dental health is often a child's top unmet health need. This project also helps Well-Ahead Louisiana collect data in hopes of securing funding for future oral health programming for Louisiana students. Your child's screening results will be treated as private health information. All data collected will be reported in aggregate form, ensuring the privacy of both students and schools.
Oral Health Promotion (OHP) is ramping up for the continuation of the school-based oral health screening program, Bright Smiles for Bright Futures, 3rd-Grade Basic Screening Survey (BSS). During the summer months the program is busy planning, preparing and training to lay the ground work for the final round of this project. The importance of youth oral health screenings provided through the Bright Smiles for Bright Futures, Basic Screening Survey is to produce statistical estimates on dental health indicators. Tooth decay is the #1 childhood disease that impacts the lives of children at an early age.
This nationwide open-mouth survey is used by many states to have a consistent model for obtaining data for oral health improvement. The survey is conducted in Louisiana schools statewide every 3-5 years and the first survey was conducted in 1997-1998. Our state currently holds a “D” National ranking in overall oral health outcomes so providing a representative sample is crucial for developing needed interventions.
The next five-year BSS began in the 2016-2017 school year. Louisiana’s school participation rate was low and therefore a representative sample size was not collected. It was decided that the project would get an additional school year to collect the remaining data needed. In the first year out outreach 33 of the 60 targeted schools participated in the project resulting in a total of 902 3rd graders screened.
Hygienists screened and educated all 3rd-graders students who participated. Hygienist screen students looking for 4 oral health indicators including untreated tooth decay, fillings, sealants, and treatment urgency level for needed dental care.
Many participating schools gave the Oral Health Program (OHP) great feedback in regards to the education, resources and screening provided to the students by the hygienist. The screenings have opened the door for further interest in evidence-based prevention programs (dental sealants and fluoride varnish applications) as some principals have indicated the need to have these programs in their schools.
This summer, the OHP was successful in sharing BSS information with Superintendents through the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents Conference. There are other innovative opportunities being planned for a better outcome in 2nd phase. By the end of the 2017-2018 school year the program hopes to have collected data from 2,000 3rd-grade students in a total of 60 Louisiana schools!
- Bright Smiles for Bright Futures BSS Report
- 2016-2018 Bright Smiles for Bright Futures BSS Schools
- All schools who have been selected to participate have been notified
- If you need additional copies of paperwork for your schools screening please use the links below:
Dental sealants are thin, colorless, plastic coatings that are placed on teeth to prevent cavity formation. Teeth have tiny grooves and pits where bacteria can hide and damage the tooth's enamel. Sealants protect these grooves and pits from bacteria and help prevent cavities. While any tooth may receive a sealant, it is most common for children to have their 6-year-old and 12-year-old molars (first and second molars) sealed.
The application of dental sealants is a quick, pain-free process. It first requires that the tooth be cleaned and prepared for the sealant. The sealant is then painted on the tooth surface, and the tooth is allowed to dry. After the sealant is placed, the tooth surface should look and feel the same as before. Sealants are very strong and should last for many years. The dentist will check the sealant at check-ups to make sure it is still intact. The sealant can be replaced with a new one as necessary.
Click here to learn more about school based dental sealant programs
The Louisiana Oral Health Program operated a school-based dental sealant program, Louisiana Seals Smiles, a school-based/linked program that targeted first, second, and sixth grade children in Louisiana. The six-year program provided dental sealants and fluoride varnish to eligible children throughout the state free of charge while in their school settings. The program partnered with several key providers (The Health Enrichment Network, Health Centers in Schools, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, Primary Care Providers of East Feliciana, and Dental Caravan, Inc.) in 2014 to serve schools in various parishes of the state.
During 2012-2015, a total of 7,824 children were screened and 4,283 received dental sealants in over fifteen parishes. Due to funding limitations, this program is not currently being operated.
Number of Children Who Received Preventative Dental Services 2012-2015
||# Children Sealed
Source: Sealant Efficiency Assessment for Locals and States (SEALS) 2012-2015
Click here to learn more about Louisiana Seals Smiles.
Fluoride varnish is a coating that is painted directly to child’s teeth in order to prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay, if untreated, can turn into a cavity. Fluoride varnish not only assists in preventing future cavities but it may even help to reverse cavities that have already started developing. If your child does not go to a dentist on a regular basis, and he/she is six months to five years old, your pediatrician can also apply the protecting varnish. Fluoride is safe for your teeth and only takes minutes to apply.
The Louisiana DHH Medicaid Fluoride Varnish Policy published in December 2011 requires physicians to complete the DHH “Smiles for Life” Certification in order to bill for fluoride varnish applications in offices For more information about his policy please click the here: DHH Medicaid Fluoride Varnish Policy
How much is a medical professional reimbursed for applying the varnish?
Louisiana Medicaid covers reimbursement to medical providers at $24.19 once every six months for the therapeutic application of topical fluoride varnish for patients age 6 months to 5 years with a moderate to high risk for caries. (Billable under procedure code D1206.)
Does a medical professional need to include any additional interventions/services in order to be reimbursed for fluoride varnish application by Medicaid?
This healthcare common procedure coding system code (HCPCS code) represents application of the fluoride varnish, as well as performance of an oral health assessment, education of parents and anticipatory guidance. These services are considered inclusive and are not separately reimbursable. HCPCS code D1206 is only reimbursable when performed on the same date of service as an office visit or preventive screening visit. Providers shall not require recipients to return to the office to receive the varnish application.
Who can apply fluoride varnish?
Disciplines that may apply the fluoride varnish are include: dental providers, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Physicians are responsible to provide training to participating staff to ensure competency in fluoride varnish applications.
Who can be reimbursed?
Physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are eligible for reimbursement. In order to qualify, providers must review the "Smiles for Life" training module for fluoride varnish and successfully pass the post assessment.
“Smiles for Life” Certification Training (The physician must complete the one-time, one hour, online training to be eligible for reimbursement.): Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum, 3rd edition