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Back-to-School Dental Appointments

Posted on July 1, 2016 in Health

As the summer days click away, Delta Dental of Iowa encourages parents to take a few minutes to think about mid-year checkups. Scheduling appointments this summer for dental, vision and annual physical wellness checkups can create less hassle in August when busy parents are also gathering school supply lists and arranging car pools. 

In Iowa, all children entering kindergarten and ninth grade are required to have a dental screening before school starts, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. These preventive checks help with early identification of dental health issues and other overall health problems. Regular dental exams for children of all ages, especially during the summer or over school breaks, can reduce the number of school days students miss due to dental pain and appointments. A survey by Delta Dental in 2015*1 showed that 18 percent of students miss at least one half day of school per year due to dental appointments. 

“We know that preventive dental health care routines, such as having dental exams twice a year and regular brushing and flossing, contribute tremendously to overall health,” said Dr. Jeff Chaffin, vice president and dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa. “The investment in time to schedule dental appointments this summer is one that will pay off with less time out of school and possibly fewer dental emergencies.”

To get more enjoyment out of summer and prepare for back to school, parents can:

  • Check with their dental insurance provider to determine available benefits to take advantage of preventive checkups. 
  • Review the health registration requirements of their local school and the state of Iowa Department of Public Health to determine what appointments children need before the next school year.
  • Schedule appointments in July or early August for their child’s regular dental health examinations and overall well-child checkups. 
  • Ask their dentist about applying dental sealants. Sealants, a thin plastic coating applied directly to teeth, help prevent bacteria from settling into the natural pits and grooves of teeth where most tooth decay in children develops. They can reduce the chances of a tooth forming new decay by up to 70 percent.
  • Based on their child’s extra-curricular activities, ask their dentist about a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect the child from impact injuries to teeth and gums. 

A few minutes of planning now can save the stress later this summer of trying to squeeze in required dental health exams for school-age children. For more information on children’s dental health care, visit Delta Dental of Iowa’s website

About Delta Dental of Iowa

Delta Dental of Iowa is the largest and most experienced provider of dental benefits in the state. As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental of Iowa invests in oral health and wellness projects through the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation that focus on access to care, prevention, education and research. Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.

Delta Dental of Iowa is a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. The Delta Dental member companies provide dental benefits to more than 70 million Americans in more than 120,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit our website at


1 Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted the 2015 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. Interviews were conducted nationally via email with 1,325 parents of children ages 12 and under from Dec. 2, 2014 to Jan. 2, 2015. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of error is ±2.7 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.