What Are the Costs to Delay Early Prevention?

Cavities can be prevented, but not enough children get early preventive care. Children with cavities can suffer from pain, have difficulty eating, be distracted from learning, and feel less confident. Providing preventive care, like fluoride varnish applications, is critical as soon as teeth erupt and regularly thereafter.

Severe decay for a very young child often results in treatment in an operating room and can cost more than $10,000. The cost for three fluoride varnish applications in a year, highly effective in preventing cavities, is just $44.


How Can I-Smile Coordinators Help Health Providers?

I-Smile Coordinators can help health providers in their community with technical assistance and information on children's oral health issues. Some types of assistance include:

  • Providing general information on the I-Smile program
  • Connecting dentists with families needing dental care
  • Providing training education on the school dental screening requirement
  • Training physicians, nurses, and physician assistants on how to complete a dental screening and how to apply fluoride varnish
  • Providing training to dental professionals on how to handle young patients under 3 years old

How Can Dentists and Health Care Providers Help I-Smile?

The I-Smile program is intended to ensure that children have a dental home. The I-Smile dental home is an integrated model with many health care providers including dentists, nurse practitioners, and physicians.

Dentists, you can become an important part of a child’s health and dental home by:

  • Linking with your local I-Smile Coordinator for information, training, and referrals
  • Accepting new Medicaid and Title V child patient referrals
  • Seeing child patients by their first birthday

Nurse Practitioners and Physicians, you can become an important part of a child’s health and dental home by:

  • Linking with your local I-Smile Coordinator for information, training, and referrals
  • Helping identify tooth decay through screenings during well-child visits
  • Applying fluoride varnish treatments
  • Referring children in need of dental treatment to a dentist or the I-Smile Coordinator

With your assistance, Iowa’s children can receive the proper oral health care they deserve!