May 15 is deadline for Illinois school dental exam requirement

If your child hasn’t been seen by your dentist by May 15, you need to schedule that appointment for an exam right away.

An Illinois law that went into effect last summer requires children in kindergarten, second and sixth grades to have a dental examination performed by a dentist by May 15 of the end of their school year, or to present proof to the school that one is scheduled in the next 60 days.

The examination may have been completed within the 18 months prior to the May 15 deadline. Children may qualify for a waiver from this requirement, if their parents or guardians can demonstrate an undue burden or a lack of access to a dentist.

“With studies consistently showing the undeniable link between oral health and overall health, it is so important for kids to start seeing their dentist for regular checkups at an early age. The grade requirements for dental exams differ from those for physical exams because of timing—the back teeth, or molars, usually erupt during second and sixth grades, allowing dentists the opportunity to apply dental sealants following the exam and helping to prevent future cavities. We want to remind parents and dentists that the deadline for this first round of exams is just around the corner,” says Illinois State Dental Society President Dr. Joseph Hagenbruch.

He adds: “The exams are not intended to be burdensome. For those who already receive regular dental checkups, it will be a matter of providing proof of the exam. Furthermore, there are options available to those children that are eligible for free and reduced-fee lunch programs through the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Dental Sealant Grant Program. Their parents may contact the appropriate city or county health department about accessing these school-based dental services.”

For more information, visit the Illinois State Dental Society’s Web site at

From the May 10-16, 2006, issue

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