Sealant Saturday helps protect uninsured kids' teeth from cavities

Katherine Ranzenberger

Children that are uninsured or under-insured can get their teeth checked for free during the annual Sealant Saturday event on Feb. 27.

In this file photo, volunteers apply sealant to a child's teeth during a free dental service event. (Bill Kalina photo

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and kids from age 6 to 16 can get a free exam, dental sealants and fluoride varnish from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the York County School of Technology, 2179 S. Queen St.

The Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists’ Association of Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties is sponsoring the annual event. Dentists, registered dental hygienists, extended function dental assistants and senior dental hygiene students will be providing the free exams.

“We see kids that are uninsured or under-insured that are able to get this preventative care,” said Julie Polito, organizer of the event. “Fifty-five percent of the kids we see are in families under the federal poverty level. They wouldn’t be able to get this care otherwise.”

Children covered by government insurance are also welcome at the event, she said.

Dental sealants help protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, Polito said. A thin resin material is applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars to prevent cavities.

“Sealants are a simple and painless procedure that can protect teeth from decay,” according to the event flyer. “Teeth that have a cavity cannot be sealed. These teeth will be noted and referred for treatment.”

Dentists can work on a sliding scale to help make the fillings affordable, Polito said.

Sealant Saturday started in 2003 and has placed 30,450 sealants on the teeth of 7,761 children in Pennsylvania. Polito said she hopes more families will come to the event because dental health is important to overall health.

To make an appointment, call Polito at (717) 562-6734. Walk-ins are also welcome, and will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.