Idaho receives $1.6 million to support oral health activities

Idaho has been awarded $1.6 million to develop and implement innovative programs to address oral health workforce needs of designated dental health professional shortage areas (dental HPSAs). Forty-two out of 44 Idaho counties are designated dental HPSAs, according to the Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW).

The funding, which will be administered over four years, was awarded to the Idaho Oral Health Program in IDHW’s Division of Public Health by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The program serves as the primary source of oral health surveillance and population-based oral disease prevention programs. The Idaho Oral Health Program provides the infrastructure essential to create, implement, and evaluate oral health initiatives and specific policies.

The goals of this award include:

  • Fostering programs that promote oral health or science professions to youth.
  • Increasing oral healthcare services by providing funding to medical or dental professionals, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, dental education institutions, and other entities in dental HPSAs to implement teledentistry.
  • Increasing utilization of silver diamine fluoride, a minimally invasive dentistry technique. Silver diamine fluoride is an inexpensive topical treatment and is recommended by the American Dental Association as a method for arresting certain instances of tooth decay.
  • In addition, an evaluation on the effectiveness of implementing teledentistry to increase access to oral healthcare and the potential cost savings of utilizing silver diamine fluoride in dental HPSAs will be conducted.

Over the next four years, the Idaho Oral Health Program will work with various organizations such as the Idaho State Dental Association, Idaho Dental Hygienists’ Association, Patterson Dental Supply, the Idaho STEM Action Center, and several others on various activities and goals associated with this funding award.

“We are thrilled to have this funding available to implement the use of teledentistry and increase the use of silver diamine fluoride in Idaho,” said Angie Bailey, manager of the Idaho Oral Health Program. “This is a wonderful opportunity for oral health partners to work together to help increase access to oral health services in dental HPSAs while also potentially decreasing costs by utilizing teledentistry and silver diamine fluoride.”

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $2.3 million, with 40 percent financed with nongovernmental sources.

Media contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Manager
(208) 334-0668

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