The mission of the Oral Health Unit is to prevent oral disease among Georgia's children through education, prevention and early treatment.
The Oral Health Unit plays a vital role in improving the quality of life for all the children of Georgia, and in eliminating health disparities. Oral Health Unit programs focus on preventing, controlling and reducing oral diseases and conditions as well as promoting healthy behaviors. Dental Public Health staff coordinate local, state, and federal resources to address the burden of oral disease and promote cooperative working relationships among state agencies and community organizations to, prevent and control oral diseases.
In fiscal year 2008, a total of 190,839 children received dental prevention, education, and treatment services provided by Georgia's Dental Public Health Programs. More information about these services can be obtained from the
Health District Dental Contacts
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 Oral Health Unit makes every effort to promote and implement preventive measures for all of Georgiaís citizens.
- Community Water Fluoridation
- As of December 2006, 95.8% 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.
- 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 13,474 school age children received fluoride treatments in fiscal year 2008.
- 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. In FY 2008, dental public health personnel placed 27,455 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 66,378 school children were reached in fiscal year 2008.
Screening and Referral
- Dental screenings
- Dental inspections of the mouth are performed to see if there are any dental or oral problems. The most common dental problems that children have are dental decay, gum disease, and malocclusion. Most of these problems are preventable. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can eliminate pain, infection, and progressive oral diseases.
- Dental referrals
- If a child is found to have oral health problems, a referral note is sent to the parent/guardian regarding the child's condition and detailing available resources. More than 60,678 school children were screened and referred for treatment in fiscal year 2008 through public health dental programs. The 2011 Georgia
Third Grade Oral Health Survey documents results of a statewide screening assessment.
- More than 210,606 dental treatments were provided for 64,512 children in fiscal year 2008.
- 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:
- Dental sealants
- Silver (amalgam) and tooth colored (composite) fillings
- Stainless steel crowns
- Minor nerve treatments
- 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 calling the
local health department or the
Health District Dental Contact.
- 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.
- o 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 patientís ability to pay).