Our dental hygienists and dental assistants visit elementary schools every year to provide free oral health screenings to students in kindergarten and grade two. At some schools, we may also screen students in other grades. The screening is a brief visual assessment of the child’s dental condition. Parents/guardians receive a dental report card after the screening to let them know if they see any problems, such as large cavities, in the child’s mouth.
The school screenings help us to:
- Identify children with urgent oral health needs or other oral health issues
- Provide essential preventive oral health services
- Link eligible students with free oral health programs for children and youth ages 0-17
- Monitor the oral health needs in our communities
What happens at the screening?
The dental hygienist takes a quick look in the mouth (usually under a minute) with a sterilized mouth mirror while the Certified Dental Assistant records dental findings and statistics. They also:
- Use a no-touch technique
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as non-latex gloves, masks, eye protection
- Use appropriate hand hygiene
- Issue a dental “report card” to each student
- Follow-up on children who need urgent dental care
Parents will be notified of dental screenings through forms delivered to each household prior to school screenings. When receiving these screening notifications, families may also decide that they would like all of their children screened, in addition to the scheduled kindergarten and grade two members, and can contact the HNHU dental program and let us know.
It is best if all eligible children are screened. However, parents can decline their child’s participation by contacting the health unit dental program as directed on the notification form.