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The Adopt-a-School program is an initiative of the foundation of the Washington State Dental Association that teams school nurses with local dentists to identify and to provide free emergency dental care for students who cannot function in the classroom due to unmet dental needs. The program is designed to assist students who have no resources for treatment and serves all students regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin.

Treatment Process

  • Student is screened by school nurse or counselor for acuteness of problem, financial need and lack of a dental home.
  • If the student qualifies, the nurse or counselor calls local dental office for emergency treatment and faxes referral form.
  • The child’s parent/guardian will contact the dental office to set up the appointment.
  • Parent or responsible party transports child to dental office.
  • Consent and release forms are signed and treatment begins.
  • No payment is expected for treatment (if the child has DSHS coupons they may be accepted for treatment rendered).

Education and Prevention

The initiative also involves free oral health education to help students understand dental disease. Programs are available in three formats to accommodate the needs of individual schools; are presented by dental professionals or Foundation staff; and includes oral hygiene bags for all program participants.

The education component of this program is essential to help reduce the incidence of oral disease. Children cannot have healthy bodies unless they have healthy mouths. The education program is comprehensive and utilizes a variety of teaching models and interactions that help children.
Additional information and assistance setting up programs in your area is available by contacting our staff at 206-448-1914 or email wohf@wsda.org. Dentists and school nurses can also download enrollment forms on this page to begin the Adopt-A-School enrollment process.