Back to school means time for dental checkup

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — With the start of school just around the corner, make sure your children in kindergarten, second or sixth grades have a current dental exam.

The Illinois School Code, which took effect in 2005, mandates that children entering these grades have a dental examination performed by a dentist by May 15 of the end of their school year, or parents/guardians must present proof to the school that one is scheduled in the next 60 days.

Patients often ask why the grades required for dental examinations differ from those scheduled for medical physical examinations of kindergarten, fifth and ninth grades.

Dr. Darryll Beard, president of the Illinois State Dental Society, explained: “Dental examinations are needed during second and sixth grades as the back teeth, or molars, usually erupt during this time. This allows your dentist the opportunity to apply dental sealants to these teeth to help prevent future decay.”

The state law requires that students from all public, private and parochial schools comply. If the child has had a recent dental examination, or one completed within the 18 months prior to the May 15 deadline, the requirement has been fulfilled.

“With the undeniable link between oral health and overall health, children will have a much better school year with less absenteeism and more confidence if dental issues are regularly addressed,” Beard said. “The dentists of the Illinois State Dental Society want to remind kids to brush at least twice daily and floss for a healthy smile all year round.”

To find an Illinois State Dental Society member dentist, visit

Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website for the required dental forms:

From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue

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