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Back to School? Don't forget these three essential exams

Posted on July 26, 2019 in Health


The three appointments you need on your back to school checklist.

The official start of school in Iowa is less than a month away! As you prepare, keep in mind that there are a few important back to school items that have nothing to do with notebooks or backpacks. These three essential preventive and wellness exams need to be scheduled with your family medical provider, your optometrist and your dentist ASAP.

In Iowa, there are several grade-based requirements for children, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. These three appointments will help track your child’s growth, assess changes in their vision, watch for signs of dental disease and provide peace of mind as your child starts their new school year.

1) Dental screening requirements

Children entering kindergarten and ninth grade in Iowa schools are required to have a dental screening. The Iowa Department of Public Health Certificate of Dental Screening form must be completed and signed. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth decay is the single most common infectious disease affecting U.S. children.

“These preventive checks can help with early identification of dental health and other overall health issues,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, vice president and dental director, Delta Dental of Iowa. “This is a good opportunity to have dental sealants applied and to determine if there are any issues with your child’s oral health. If your child is active in contact sports, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth guards.”

2) Vision screening requirements

“The child who had 20/20 vision during the last school year may be struggling to read the white board this year,” said Dr. Chad Overman, director of vision benefits for DeltaVision by Delta Dental of Iowa. “While the state of Iowa requires an eye exam before Kindergarten and again before third grade, it’s a good practice to schedule an eye exam every one to two years, especially for kids. During your child’s eye exam, ask questions about eye protection for sports, screen time strain on eyes and how to care for contact lenses or glasses during the busy school months.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health requires that children have a vision screening at least once before Kindergarten and again before third grade. The IDPH Certificate of Vision Screening lists the timeline for valid screening.

3) Wellness check-ups

The last annual exam suggestion from Delta Dental of Iowa is an overall wellness checkup. Most insurance plans including Medicaid and Hawki cover annual wellness checkups at no cost. A comprehensive health screening assesses a child’s overall health including growth patterns, updating immunizations, and nutritional and safety assessments. This is a good time to ask questions, chart progress and discuss changes your child may encounter in the upcoming year. Additionally, Iowa schools require any students in grades 7 – 12 participating in sports to have an annual pre-participation physical examination. 

Easy as 1-2-3

If you’ve already taken care of these health exams, relax and enjoy the last month of summer with your family. If not, don’t worry; it’s not too late. Schedule appointments for your child with your medical provider, your dentist and your optometrist ASAP so your child is fully prepared to go back to school.

If your current health benefits coverage does not include vision and dental insurance coverage, we can help. Visit our website to find out more about coverage for you and your family.