Defenders of Future Smiles Resources:
frequently asked questions


What services do you provide?

Our program follows evidence-based cavity-preventing recommendations developed by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The services we provide at no-cost to families or schools include:

  • Oral health screenings
  • Dental sealants
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Case management (coordination of care for children with toothaches)
  • Free toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Assistance to families enrolling their children in Healthy Montana Kids Plus (Medicaid/CHIP)


How many students in a school need to participate?

We aim to receive at least 60% of the consents back depending on the size of the school.


Do you see all children?

We primarily see grades K-6. However, if your school includes older grades, we would be happy to discuss seeing those children as well. If you have preschoolers, ask us about our special preschool program where we join them in their classrooms for "circle time", dental screenings, and tooth brushing!


How long will you be at the school?

We begin at the start of school and continue throughout the day until all of the children have been seen. Depending on the size of the school, the program may only take a couple of hours or it may take the entire school day. If the school is larger and/or if the school is a new participant, we like to set up the afternoon/evening before so that we are ready to see children right after attendance is taken! We try our best to work around any field trips, lunch, and recess times! If a teacher has something important to do with their class in the morning, we will be sure to see their classroom in the afternoon or vice-versa.


How much space do you need?

We don’t require much! We have set up on performance stages, teachers’ lounges, and in the corner of cafeterias. A spare classroom or a gymnasium is a luxury for us!


How much classroom time will be used?

Three dentists/hygienists can see about 20 children in 25 minutes. We try to see entire classrooms at one time, because it's more efficient to see them all at once as there is always a child waiting in line. Additionally, children like to be surrounded by their friends!!!


How can I get parents to return their consent form?

Here are a few ideas we’ve picked up from other schools like yours:
•   Promote the fact that we provide a CLASS PRIZE and teacher appreciation gift to the class with the most returned consents. Successful schools make this announcement over the loud-speaker at least 3 days in a row.

•   Promote the event on your school website, Facebook, at parent teacher conferences, or newsletter. There’s even a principal who likes to “TWEET” about the event!

•   Send consents home at the beginning of school


Can we alter the consents?

No, do not alter the consent, staple additional information onto the consent, or add your schools name/logo to any part of the consent. The consent is a legal document which has been developed, over a 7-year period, by a team of highly skilled lawyers at Crowley Fleck, PLLP who specialize in healthcare law and school programs such as Sealants for Smiles!. The consent is designed to protect not only the non-profit organization, but your school, and most importantly families and children.

The consent has not been developed for families to select certain services and refuse others. Though encouraging families to select or refuse certain services may seem like a good idea, it leads to miscommunications, misunderstandings, and unhappy parents. If a family is either unclear on what they’re signing or if they have reservations about the services provided, as with any other treatment, even those delivered in a typical dental office, they should simply not give permission – and consequently not sign and return the consent.


Why does the consent ask caregivers permission to use state student IDs?

A child’s state student ID serves as the child’s patient ID in the program. This unique child identifier ensures continuity and quality of care by allowing their health record to move from school to school as they move. We strictly follow FERPA and HIPAA laws so that you and your families can feel confidant that private information is kept safe.


Can children participate if they already have a family dentist and sealants?

YES! Outside of providing great care to children, we also collect important aggregate oral health data that helps us make comparisons between the oral health of the children in your school and the oral health of children across Montana and the nation. In order to get an accurate estimation of the overall oral health of your school and your community, we encourage ALL children to participate at least for the screening portion, even if those children have a regular dentist. Plus, it’s just plain fun! Every child goes home with a goodie bag, a “Report Card”, a free toothbrush and toothpaste, and a PRIZE!


Do you come back the following year?

Yes, we do! It is important to come back year after year for a couple of reasons. One obvious reason is that children continue to receive essential cavity-preventing services each year. During follow-up visits, we also check to make sure the sealants are in place and replace them if needed. Plus, children enjoy seeing the dentists and hygienists year after year and in doing so we start to establish healthy habits and relationships which continue with them into adulthood!


Who are the volunteer dentists and dental hygienists that will be providing the care?

All of volunteer dentists and dental hygienists participating in the program receive annual quality and privacy training in addition to certification. They are Montana licensed dental professionals in good standing with the Montana Board of Dentistry, and for the most part, live in or near your hometown. In fact, children who have a dentist, often see the smiling faces of their own dentist or dental hygienist in their school! Please let us know if there’s a special dentist in your area who sees many of the children.