Improving or Expanding Existing School Dental Programs

Your school dental program may offer oral health education and screenings, but perhaps you want to add dental hygiene services or restorative services. You may provide services but want to measure and improve the quality of the oral health services in your program.  HOW do you begin to measure the impact of your work, or increase the number of students that access the services? What are the measures that will guide your improvement efforts, and HOW do you reach out to school nurses, parents, and students to ensure they have an awareness of your program and services.

“The relationships we built up front lasted, and we became part of the school and they treat us like we are part of them. We were committed to offering restorative dental services from the start because we knew we needed to make the whole child healthy.  We learned to accommodate our program to what the school needs, and this is a big part of our success”.
Georgia Famuliner, Chief Operations Officer, Smiles for a Lifetime, Welvista

The following resources provide nationally recognized oral health measures and quality improvement guidelines to help you strengthen your existing school dental program:

https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/DQA_Why_Use_DQA_Measures.pdf?la=en  The Dental Quality Alliance explains why it is essential to adopt dental performance measures, using data to make program decisions and drive change.  Quality measures can help programs improve the quality of care.

https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/DQA/2020_DQAPediatricMeasuresUserGuide_UPDATED.pdf?la=en  The Dental Quality Alliance User Guide for Pediatric Measures is effective January 2020, offering measures for multiple aspects of program improvement, and provides guidance for the most recent sealant measures.

https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/oral-health/objectives  Healthy People 2020 Oral Health section includes quality metrics for oral health of children and adolescents, access to preventive services (including increasing the proportion of school-based health centers with an oral health component), oral health interventions, monitoring/surveillance systems, and public health infrastructure.

https://www.mchoralhealth.org/titlevbg/  The Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Oral Health Toolkit provides oral health measures used by 32 states and jurisdictions to measure the oral health of children.  These national performance measures can tie to Title V activities in the individual states.

https://www.umhs-adolescenthealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/building-dental-practice-capacity-to-serve-adolescent-patients-starter-guide.pdf  Building Dental Practice Capacity to Serve Adolescent Patients is a starter guide from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. The guide will help create an adolescent-friendly atmosphere that will increase adolescent engagement in the utilization of dental services within the school building.