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Don't Fear a Return to the Dentist Before the First Day of School

California law requires new students to get a dental exam before the first day of school

NBC Universal, Inc.

They got a pass for almost a year. Now, thousands of children are headed to the dentist to get an exam before the first day of school.

The state of California requires all new students to have a dental exam before school begins. That usually impacts Pre-K and kindergarteners the most.

“Dental health impacts a child’s education in profound ways,” said Kami Hoss, D.D.S.

Dr. Hoss owns and operates six Super Dentists around San Diego County. He said dental problems force children to miss roughly 51 million hours of school every year in the United States. Hoss said students don’t perform well if they do show up to school in pain.

“If you have a toothache, can you sleep? It’s very difficult to sleep and when kids don’t sleep, it interferes with their alertness in school,” he said.

At the same time, Hoss said he understands why patients disappeared when the pandemic started.

“The first few weeks were really so scary,” he admitted. “The fact is that dental offices have been open since last May and we’ve had almost no evidence of transmission of COVID between any patient and any dental office across the country.”

Dr. Hoss said parents shouldn’t fear taking their kids to the dentist, and said all dental offices are taking precautions to keep everyone safe.

“And we’ve been wearing masks for 20, 30 years. This was never an issue before. Right?” he joked.

Hoss also warned dental problems will only get worse and more expensive the longer people wait to get them fixed.

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