Dental Health

Jackson-Madison School-Based Dental Program. 2,030 students screened 10,236 sealants placedThe School Based Preventive Dental Program offers free services for children in Pre-K through 8th grade. Our mission is to improve oral health and reduce oral disease though education and screening, referral services, and dental sealant application.

Preventing Tooth Decay with Dental Sealants

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. About 1 of 5 children aged 5-11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

Dental sealants are a quick, easy and painless way to prevent most childhood cavities. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the hard-to-reach back teeth that children may miss while brushing. Sealants create a protective shield that blocks out food and germs.

Parents are encouraged to ask pediatric dentists to apply dental sealants when appropriate and to sign children up for school sealant programs if offered.

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)

If a child is identified as having tooth decay during a school screening, we can provide up to two applications of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to control the decay and prevent the cavity from getting worse.

SDF is a liquid placed on a cavity that kills bacteria and strengthens that part of the tooth. It will harden the cavity to keep it from getting bigger and will also help with any pain related to the cavity. Using SDF allows time for treatment to occur without the cavity growing. This service is offered through the school-based program at NO COST!

Benefits of SDF:

  • Stops cavities from getting bigger
  • NO shots or drills
  • May stop teeth from hurting
  • Provided at NO cost through our program

What to expect after an SDF application:

  • SDF will change the color of the cavity from brown to black, but will not stain parts of the tooth that are not decayed.
  • SDF will stop the cavities from getting bigger.
  • SDF gives time for dentists to fix your child's teeth.
  • If SDF touches your child's skin, you will see a small color change that will go away in 2-3 days.

Possible risks to SDF:

  • The cavity will permanently turn black. 
  • When placing SDF on a filled tooth that has decay, the decay will become darker.
  • There may be a metallic taste in the mouth. However, this will go away quickly.
  • Your child needs additional treatment with a dentist.