Dental (Oral) diseases are a major health concern affecting almost every person in Georgia. Dental caries and periodontal diseases have a huge economic and social cost and can result in serious systemic problems, pain, and suffering. Most oral diseases are preventable, and the Georgia Department of Public Health’s, Oral Health Program makes every effort to promote and implement preventive measures for all of Georgia’s citizens.
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What does the Oral Health program do?
- School-linked Fluoride Supplement Programs for high-risk children - Fluoride mouth rinse or fluoride varnish treatments are provided to children lacking an adequate source of fluoride. Approximately 8,530 school age children received fluoride treatments in fiscal year 2014.
- Dental Sealants - A plastic coating is placed on the chewing surfaces of permanent molar teeth to seal out food and bacteria that cause tooth decay. Dental public health personnel placed more than 20,000 sealants on the permanent molars of Georgia children.
- Dental Health Education - Public Health dental hygienists teach school children the importance of proper brushing, flossing, and good nutrition for good dental health. More than 80,000 school children were reached in fiscal year 2014.
- Community Water Fluoridation - As of December 2014, 96% of Georgia's population using public water systems received fluoridated water. Water fluoridation has been shown to reduce dental decay by 20-40% in fluoridated communities, and results in a savings of $38 in future dental expenditures for each $1 invested in fluoridation.
How many Georgian's are taking advantage of the program?
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, 180,107 dental prevention and treatment services were provided by DPH dental clinics.
- First priority for treatment is given to children who need emergency dental services because of pain or infection, and who are eligible for the Free and Reduced Meal Program (185% Federal Poverty Level).
- Basic dental treatment services include:
Silver (amalgam) and tooth colored (composite) fillings
Stainless steel crowns
Minor nerve treatments
Where can I go to access services?
Clinic locations and hours depend on local and state resources available. Information about specific dental services, hours, and location of services can be obtained by visiting the Georgia Oral Health Coalition - Map of Dental Sites or contact your local Public Health Department.
Payment for dental treatment services are based on a sliding fee scale based upon ability to pay. Many health departments have a minimal administrative fee.
Public health dental services are provided to children who are enrolled in Medicaid and PeachCare programs, as well as to low-income patients on a sliding-fee scale (based on the patient’s ability to pay).