University of Kentucky College of Dentistry first-year students visited four elementary schools this year as part of the Seal Kentucky program, a community-based dental sealant program for elementary school children.
The program generally targets schools with high free- or reduced-fee lunch program participation, as children there may have higher barriers to receiving proper dental care. This year, the dental students went to Clay City, Sandy Hook, Ashland and Butler, where they gave dental examinations, cleaning, fluoride treatment, sealants and a brushing and flossing demonstration.
“Taking part in the seal trip was an awesome experience that I will always remember because those were my first real patients," dental student Paige Higdon said. "I learned that with enough effort you can encourage any kid to like dentistry and they leave with a smile on their face.”
Dental sealants help seal out plaque and food. They reduce the risk of tooth decay, especially in hard-to-reach areas of the mount. They can last up to four years.
For the dental school students, this program delivers their first exposure to patient care. For the communities, the program makes a drastic difference in helping reduce tooth decay.