School-Linked Dental Program Manual

Schools offer an ideal setting for the intersection of health and education to apply early intervention and prevention that can be sustained into adulthood. This website is designed to help conduct school oral health screenings and link students to dental care through a school-linked dental program. It is a step-by-step guide designed to assist in setting up a program utilizing the minimal available resources. It can start with one school and one grade at a time. A standalone PDF of the manual will be available soon.

School-Linked Dental Programs

Community-clinical linkages help to connect health care providers, community organizations, and public health agencies so they can improve patients' access to preventive and chronic care services. Through the collaboration between the LOHPs, local educational agencies (LEAs), school nurses or school health coordinators, local dental providers, and community-based organizations, the strategy of community-clinical linkage can be utilized to promote and coordinate dental health care delivery to children by improving access to dental care services.


A community-clinical linkage can be achieved through school-linked or school-based dental programs. The oral health needs of the priority student population, gaps in needed services, available community assets, and resources guide the program model for community-clinical linkage (see figure).

A school-linked dental program employs a process of raising oral health awareness, identifying the children’s oral health needs, and notifying and linking families to dental care through a referral pathway.

Implementing a School-Linked Program in 5 Steps: