Beat the back-to-school rush by scheduling appointments now
Scheduling appointments for your kids can feel like a complex game of chess – parents and guardians have to think three steps ahead about logistics, insurance and availability. Take advantage of school-free days on the calendar right now and schedule those back-to-school checkups to avoid the rush. Delta Dental of Iowa and DeltaVision remind Iowa families of the importance of regular checkups to catch problems early and avoid long-term health issues.
In Iowa, there are several grade-based requirements for children, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. These required exams are essential to create a baseline for your child as well as rule out any existing medical issues. Creating a routine for your child with your dentist, eye doctor, and family medical provider establishes a positive relationship and provides an opportunity to ask questions about your child’s health.
What is required?
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) requires a few milestone health appointments for students in Iowa schools.
1. Dental screening: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist twice a year. 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. Taking care of this appointment during the summer saves time out of school and avoids unplanned time away from work for caregivers if an emergency occurs.
2. Vision screening: Students must have an eye exam at least once before kindergarten and again before third grade. Annual eye exams are recommended for school age children through age 18 by the American Optometric Association. Since the pandemic, more eye care providers are seeing eye strain in children and adults. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children ages 8-12 spend about 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens, while teens average up to nine hours. Vision screenings help to spot potential issues and identify if any corrective lenses or therapies are needed as the student is learning to read, write and work with others. Visit the IDPH website for more information on this screening.
3. Sports physicals: Students in grades 7-12 who participate in Iowa school-sponsored sports are required to obtain a medical provider’s signoff on a sports physical. This standard form walks the provider through a series of questions with your student and provides an opportunity to ask questions about their health. Annual wellness exams are not required for schools in Iowa, but most providers recommend these annual appointments to record updates in your child’s health and ask questions about their progress.
What is recommended?
Between the pandemic and busy schedules as activities resumed, your child may have missed a few regular dental, vision, or wellness checkups in the last few years. Preventive care can often assist families in keeping kids healthy and safe. Delta Dental and DeltaVision provide these recommendations to ensure your child has the healthiest start to the school year.
- Dental sealants – this is a quick, painless, and easy treatment that helps protect new molars from tooth decay.
- Custom-fitted mouthguards – children who participate in sports may avoid injuries to their teeth, mouth, tongue, and jaw by using a custom-fitted mouthguard. Not only are these injuries painful, but they can also be costly and require multiple visits and procedures to fix the damage.
- Sports goggles – Wearing eye protection can help participants avoid up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Speak to your eye doctor at your child’s appointment about their activities and to see if they recommend eye protection.
- Screen time discussion – It’s a good idea to talk to your optometrist about how to give eyes a break from screens and how to watch for signs of eyestrain in your child.
- Mental health – Your medical provider can be a good starting point to discuss any concerns that you or your child have about mental wellness including ADHD, anxiety, depression or suicidal ideation.
Don’t be intimidated by the chess board-like challenge of scheduling back-to-school appointments for your family. Call today or visit your providers’ websites to schedule appointments with your dentist, eye doctor, and medical provider for back-to-school appointments so you can enjoy all this summer has to offer.