Rather than employing staff, some school-based dental sealant programs use contractors to perform program activities, including program coordination, provision of clinical services, outreach, and attainment of defined performance standards (e.g., compliance with quality-assurance measures).
School-based dental sealant programs sometimes contract with dental or dental hygiene schools. Partnering with an academic program provides an excellent opportunity to expose students in that program to pediatric oral health care and public service and offers the potential to add to the public health work force. Working with students can be time-consuming, however, and—because students can be slower at applying dental sealants than experienced professionals—taking this approach can reduce productivity, especially if the program has only one portable operatory per school.
Contractual arrangements can also be made with individual dentists and dental hygienists or with nonprofit community oral health services organizations (e.g., Children’s Dental Services). In these cases, the dentists, dental hygienists, or nonprofit organizations operate just like program staff, but they are not permanent employees.