P.O. BOX 2120



October 24, 2008



Division Superintendents



Patricia I. Wright

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Statewide Dental Health Survey


A statewide dental survey of third-grade children will be conducted during the 2008-2009 school year by the Division of Dental Health, Virginia Department of Health. The oral health survey will consist of a clinical screening using a disposable dental explorer and mirror. It is anticipated that the open mouth survey will take less than three minutes per child to complete. No X-rays will be taken.


The information from the survey will be used to assist the Division of Dental Health in determining the current status of oral health and dental needs and future program planning. The results of this study will help to design programs to improve the oral health of all Virginia's school children. A sample of approximately 15,000 children will be randomly selected from school divisions to best represent the state. If your school division is selected, I would encourage you to allow your principals to participate.


The Division of Dental Health would like to conduct this survey between November 2008 and April 2009, at a time that suits school schedules. Once approved by the superintendents, the Division of Dental Health staff will contact principals for further consent and scheduling. Sample copies of the letter to parents, the permission form, and report form to the parents will be sent with the request for participation to those school divisions that are selected.

Licensed dentists or dental hygienists from the Virginia Department of Health will do the examinations. Information will be obtained about dental decay, fillings, immediate need for care, and dental sealants. Demographic information such as age, gender, race, insurance coverage, and free lunch status will be obtained from parents/guardians as part of a parental permission form. All information for the individual will be kept strictly confidential; however, parents will be notified of the results of the dental screening for their children.


School level participation is encouraged. Oral health is an important component of a child's overall health and can affect the ability of a child to concentrate in a classroom or attend school.


Should you have further questions, please contact JoAnn Wells, school-age oral health education coordinator, VDH, 804-864-7777 or or Tia Campbell, school health specialist, at 804-786-8671 or