Oral Health Program


To achieve optimal oral health for all by eliminating oral health disparities in Rhode Island while also integrating oral health with overall health. To achieve this mission, the OHP focuses on prevention of oral disease through assurance of state-level oral health and public health leadership, documentation of the burden of oral disease in Rhode Island, and collaboration with statewide partners and the Rhode Island Oral Health Commission.

2012 Accomplishments and Milestones

  • The SEAL RI! Project, funded through the Maternal & Child Health Title V program, supported dental screenings for 815 children and provision of dental sealants for 454 children with indicated clinical need.
  • 820 RI oral health professionals have received continued professional education through the OHP sponsored Annual RI Dentistry Mini-Residency Series (topics: pediatric dentistry, special care dentistry, geriatric dentistry, adolescent dentistry and the oral health-systemic health connection).

What We Do

  • Enhance community efforts through prevention, control, and reduction of oral diseases.
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate oral health promotion and disease prevention programs in collaboration with key partners.
  • Document the burden of oral disease in Rhode Island.
  • Educate policy makers to assure sound policy decisions.
  • Work with health professionals, partners, and the Rhode Island Oral Health Commission to build and sustain community capacity for high-quality, culturally-sensitive oral health services.

Key Focus Areas

State-Based Oral Disease Prevention/Oral Health Infrastructure Development

Rhode Island is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Oral Health to establish, strengthen, and expand capacity to plan, implement, and evaluate population-based oral disease prevention and health promotion programs. With this support, the Oral Health Program has made significant progress towards building a sustainable administrative structure with oral health and public health leadership and staff to address the oral health of all Rhode Islanders.

Oral Health Workforce Partnerships

Rhode Island is funded through Health and Resources Services Administration State Oral Health Workforce Grants to address current oral health workforce and delivery systems gaps. Priority areas and activities have been identified in the 2011 Rhode Island Oral Health Plan by key Rhode Island community groups and stakeholders. The proposed activities are complementary, built upon synergy and past partnership successes, and include:

  1. Enhanced oral health infrastructure within the state health department;
  2. Expanded services for underserved adults through the creation of an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency Program;
  3. Expanded mobile dental programs serving Medicaid elders in nursing homes; and
  4. Oral disease risk assessment/disease management trainings for primary care providers (pediatricians, family practice physicians, and obstetricians).


Oral Health Professional Advisory Council

The Oral Health Professional Advisory Council provides guidance to the Oral Health Program on programmatic and policy issues related to oral health access, effective oral health promotion and disease prevention strategies, and appropriate measures designed to improve the oral health status of Rhode Islanders.

Rhode Island Oral Health Commission

The Special Senate Commission on Oral Health was established in 2001 to provide a coordinated statewide effort toward achieving optimal oral health and access to dental services for all Rhode Islanders. The Rhode Island Oral Health Commission evolved from this foundational group of stakeholders in 2010, and it expanded as a coalition to further the work of the Special Senate Commission. more