Berrien County Health Department offering free dental screenings for kindergarteners

Berrien County Health Department

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. - The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) is partnering with the Van Buren/Cass County District Health Department to offer preventative dental screenings for all kindergarteners.

The screening is now required for all children before they start kindergarten as part of the Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment law, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December 2023.

This screening joins vision and hearing as requirements for all Michigan students entering kindergarten.

BCHD is administering screenings at its Benton Harbor office at 2149 E. Napier Ave., throughout the summer.

An appointment is required and must be made online or calling Melisa Jordan at 269.926.7121, ext. 5293.

The assessment is free, and no dental insurance is needed.

Health officials say dental professionals from Van Buren/Cass County District Health Department are conducting the assessments which could help identify early dental disease.

Parents and guardians can expect the screening to include a registered dental hygienist looking at the child’s teeth and gums and noting any findings.

Health officials clarify there will be no treatment or dental cleaning performed during the painless visit, which should take around five minutes.

Officials say if you'd prefer your child to see their established dental provider, bring this KOHA Assessment Form MDHHS-6067 for the dentist to fill out. The form should be returned to the school the child is attending.

“We recognize it can be difficult for families to access dental care whether it’s cost of care or insufficient insurance coverage,” said Health Officer Guy Miller from BCHD. “By offering these free screenings, we hope to make it easy for parents and families to ensure their children are prepared for a successful start to kindergarten."

If a dental professional recommends your child seeks treatment, BCHD provides information on Healthy Kids Dental here.

It's a program providing dental coverage to anyone under 18 who is enrolled in Medicaid.

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