Synopses of State Oral Health Programs

The Synopses [PDF—390 KB] contain information useful in tracking states’ efforts to improve oral health and contributions to progress toward the national targets for Healthy People objectives for oral health. A subset of the information collected since 2011 is provided on the Oral Health Data website.

In the interest of brevity, the word “state” is used in a general way throughout the website to indicate states, the District of Columbia, US territories, and other US-associated jurisdictions, except where explicitly noted otherwise.


In 1994, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD, an affiliate of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, ASTHO) originated the annual Synopses of Dental Programs as a way to share information among dental directors and partners. The Synopses described program activities and successes and the challenges that programs faced during the previous year. In 1997, ASTDD changed the format to a more structured questionnaire. Since 1998, cooperative agreements between ASTDD and CDC have supported display of portions of ASTDD’s Synopses data on the CDC website.



Data of a subset of information collected since the 2011 are displayed in the website. The ASTDD Data Committee develops and pilot-tests the questionnaire each year. The Synopses questionnaire is sent by e-mail to the directors of dental programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and to US-associated jurisdictions, which include American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands. The questionnaire was distributed early in the publication year or in December of the prior year. Respondents were asked to provide the most recent data available or data for the most recently completed fiscal year.

For data and methods from earlier Synopses, contact ASTDD.



Use caution in drawing conclusions about trends and fluctuations on the basis of these data. Not all directors participated in every year and those who did participate did not always provide data for every item. Absence of data for each state’s synopsis for a particular year may or may not indicate the absence of a program for that year.

Time period

States responding to this questionnaire provided data for differing time periods. The year indicates the year in which the Synopses were published. Although the Synopses were usually fielded in January through March of each year, the data included were usually from the previous complete fiscal, school, or calendar year. In some cases, dental directors provided point-in-time data rather than annual data.

The annual period that data were reported varies among items. For example, states do not all have the same fiscal year and availability of data at the time of the survey may differ across states.

Data consistency

Data from federal agencies or other sources may not be directly comparable with data from the Synopses.  State-to-state variations in program content and eligibility requirements also limit the comparability of data.

Permission to Use Data

Complete data sets and permission to use these data should be requested directly from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.

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