Under Illinois law, children entering kindergarten, second, and sixth grades are required to have a dental examination completed by May 15th of that school year. Otherwise, parents must present proof to the school that an exam is scheduled within 60 days after May 15th.
Dental examinations are needed during second and sixth grades because the back teeth (molars) usually erupt during this time. An examination provides the opportunity to apply dental sealants to these teeth to help prevent future cavities.
The law affects all types of schools. No exceptions or waivers are permitted to private or parochial schools. A waiver is permitted, however, if the parent or guardian can show an undue burden or a lack of access to a dentist. Schools may withhold the second and sixth grade children’s report cards if parents fail to provide proof of examination or a waiver form by May 15th.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a Proof of School Dental Examination Form that is recommended for use by dentists when they report that the examination has been completed. A PDF version of the form is available at the Illinois Department of Public Health website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/HealthWellness/oralhlth/home.htm or on the Illinois State Dental Society’s website at http://www.isds.org/newsroom/articles/DentExam.pdf
An examination that was completed anytime within the 18 months prior to the May 15th deadline is acceptable. For example, a child that had a dental examination after October 16th of their first grade year may use that examination to comply with the second grade requirement.