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Oral Health Program

Our Mission: Improve the oral health of Montanans through prevention and education.

The Oral Health Program promotes oral health activities designed to encourage good oral health practices and increase awareness of the importance of oral health and preventive care. These activities focus on education to promote oral health and reduce the occurrence of dental disease. The Oral Health Program collaborates with and identifies oral health resources available for local health departments, schools, daycares, tribes, Head Start programs and others concerned with oral health promotion activities.

Dental Services in Montana

Federally Funded Health Center Dental Clinics

America's Health Centers are private, not-for-profit, consumer-directed health care corporations which provide high quality, cost-effective and comprehensive primary and preventive care to medically underserved, underinsured and uninsured people.  Some health centers have dental clinics which provide dental services on a “sliding fee scale.”  A sliding fee is used to calculate the fee uninsured patients are responsible for paying upon receiving services. The fee amount is calculated using patient gross household income and family size.

Donated Dental Services: Montana Dental Association’s Dental Lifeline

Members of the Montana Dental Association (MDA) offer two access-to-care programs designed to provide free dental care to persons who are unable to obtain care. MDA dentists and their staff generously devote their time and skills to these programs for Montana children and adults who might not otherwise have access to quality dental care.

For more information, please visit the Montana Dental Association website at http://www.mtdental.com/dds.htm


Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (AbCd)

Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (AbCd)

The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (AbCd) program is a program established to increase access to dental services for Medicaid-eligible children under age 6. AbCd focuses on preventive and restorative dental care for children from birth to age six, with emphasis on the first dental appointment by age 1, if not sooner. It is based upon the premise that starting dental visits early will yield positive behaviors by both parents and children, thereby helping control the caries process and reduce the need for costly future restorative work.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a change to the recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new recommendation, 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replaces the previous recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. Learn more about the proposed changes on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Water Fluoridation: Questions and Answers webpage. See the HHS press release
Flouride Varnish

Montana Medicaid recognizes a new practice standard to improve access and preventive services for children and to take advantage of children’s early and frequent visits to physicians. Dental and medical communities can share the responsibility for children’s oral health and help decrease the startling rate of caries in low-income children.

Continuing education on fluoride varnish (FV) application for physicians is available and is encouraged to be reviewed at Smiles for Life:  A National Oral Health Curriculum http://www.smilesforlifeoralhealth.org/

For additional details, please see FV Medicaid Handout.

Open Wide Oral Health Training

Open Wide Training is Available

FREE oral health training for registered/licensed childcare providers, school nurses, WIC staff, Head Start staff and Local Public Health Offices. Continuing Education Units available through Montana Early Childhood Project.

UpdatedOpen Wide Registration Instructions

Open Wide Oral Health Training for Early Childhood and Healthcare Professionals

  • complete the registration process (see instructions)
  • search by course number which is 1031731
  • after completing the course, please return to Train.org to take the assessment in order to receive 2 CEUs (see instructions)
  • For additional questions, please call (406) 444-4572 or (406) 444-2660
OpenWide Training site online navigation

Unfortunately The Montana Oral Health program does not run the Training site. The training is provided via the TRAINNational website (www.train.org).

Only the administrators of their site can offer help, so if you have any difficulties navigating the site, please click on "Help" from their website https://www.train.org/DesktopShell.aspx?tabId=6

When you reach the "Help" page, you will see numerous self-help offerings including:  FAQs, System Requirements, and Test your Environment.  If you still need help there is a "Contacts" button which will give you the email of a site Administrator (training@phf.org)  who you may contact with any questions regarding the site.

Open Wide Brochure

School-based Oral Health Screenings

Oral Health screening is an appraisal activity just as hearing screening and vision screening are appraisal activities. An appraisal is NOT a diagnostic examination and in no way replaces a regular dental examination. Dental screening is a tool to identify emergent dental needs. In many communities, the screenings help to strengthen the partnerships between families, schools and dental professionals. 

Specific information on dental screenings can be found in the Basic Screening Surveys: Manual and Instructions for Oral Health Screening. The Oral Health Screening Video is a 20 minute training video for those performing the dental screening.

Oral Health Resources

For additional information contact:

Tonette Hollingsworth
(406) 444-2660