Taking to the streets to fight tooth decay
The Seal Mobile, one-of-a-kind in Texas, is the brightly-colored van that transports portable dental equipment to elementary schools within the Dallas Independent School District to place sealants on children’s teeth.
The Seal Mobile is funded through the Dallas County Sealant Initiative, a unique community partnership designed to improve the dental health of Dallas County children through a preventive dental program. Texas A&M College of Dentistry students meet the van at area elementary schools and use the equipment it carries to treat second graders. Under the supervision of the college faculty members, they conduct oral screenings, provide oral health education, put sealants on teeth and make referrals to dentists as necessary.
Sealants, thin plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars, shield the teeth from bacteria that can lead to decay and cavities. About two-thirds of Texas school children between the ages of six and eight suffer from tooth decay, significantly more than the 53 percent average nationwide. For many of the children that Texas A&M University College of Dentistry students treat, it is the first time they have received dental care.