Saturday, February 23, 2019
I-SMILE: Iowa’s Dental Home Project


I-Smile™ is an Iowa initiative to help keep kids healthy! We are a statewide program, working to prevent cavities before they start, helping parents get kids to the dentist, and sharing information with medical & dental providers, teachers, parents and everyone about the importance of oral health for kids to stay healthy.  I-Smile also serves WIC clients by providing dental screening, applying fluoride and helping coordinate dental appointments. I-Smile is very involved with promoting the importance of oral health by participating in community events. 

I-Smile also has I-Smile™ @ School. I-Smile™ @ School is a dental program that provides at no-cost dental screenings, sealants, fluoride varnish and education for students. Because tooth decay can impact a student’s ability to learn, eat, sleep, speak properly and build self-confidence, I-Smile™ @ School services are provided during the school day and prevent kids from missing school for dental visits.  

Improving the dental support system for families 
  • Improving the dental Medicaid program
  • Implementing recruitment and retention strategies for underserved areas
  • Integrating dental services into rural and critical access hospitals
  • Based on a dental home model
  • Primary prevention and care coordination are the focus of the project, centered in the Public Health network

Click on picture above to I-Smile Dental Home

School Dental Screenings

All Iowa children enrolling in Kindergarten or 9th grade are required to have a dental screening. This requirement was passed by the 2007 legislature and became effective July 1, 2008. The purpose of the dental screening requirement is to improve the oral health of Iowa's children. Dental screenings help with early detection and treatment of dental disease, promote the importance of oral health for school readiness and learning, and contribute to statewide surveillance of oral health. 

Dental screenings are provided by an integrated network of health care professionals to supplement Iowa's dental workforce. Regional I-Smile coordinators, serving at the "hub" of this network, partner with schools to assist students who need a screening or require follow-up dental care.

The following are highlights of the school dental screening requirement:
  • The requirement applies to kindergarten and ninth grade students only.
  • A screening for kindergarten may be performed by a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, physician, nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.
  • A screening for ninth grade may be performed by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist only.
  • Screenings performed by out-of-state providers are allowed.
  • The Iowa Department of Public Health Certificate of Dental Screening is the only acceptable form.
  • A screening for kindergarten is valid from age three years to four months after enrollment date.
  • A screening for ninth grade is valid from one year prior to enrollment to four months after enrollment date.
Other questions regarding school screenings, click here.

Program documents:

Certificate of Dental Screening
Certificate of Dental Screening Exemption
Dental Screening Flyer-English/Spanish
Frequently Asked Questions-Dental Screenings
Chapter 51-Dental Screening Rules

School-based Sealant Program 

Dental sealant is a thin protective plastic coating material that’s applied to the chewing surface of back teeth. Dental sealants are provided to qualifying schools in Washington and Henry County with 40% or greater of free or reduced lunch rates. This allows us to target kids who may have more difficulty affording routine dental care. 
Additional services include:
  • Oral health education provided
  • Consent forms distributed through local school districts annually
  • Area dentists volunteer to provide exams on-site at schools
  • Public Health Dental Hygienist places sealants on teeth on-site at schools
  • Assistance is given by Public Health staff for follow-up appointments with local dentists

Fluoride Varnish Program

Fluoride varnish is a sticky liquid that’s quickly and easily applied to all tooth surfaces. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that works by making the outer surface of teeth more resistance to the acid attacks that causes tooth decay. Due to the sticky form of the varnish and the small amount used, fluoride varnish can be used on very young children.

Washington County sites providing fluoride varnish program include:
  • Local preschools & day cares
  • WIC clinics
Services provided: 
  • Oral health education
  • Dental screening
  • Fluoride varnish application
  • Referral to local dentists for treatment

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride is a topical, minimally invasive treatment used to prevent and arrest tooth decay and decrease tooth sensitivity. It can be used on children and adults and is very cost effective, using only one drop to treat multiple teeth.

The Iowa Department of Public Health and the University of Iowa College of Dentistry collaborated on the development of a
Silver Diamine Fluoride Protocol.  This protocol provides more information on background, effectiveness, and application of silver diamine fluoride. Washington County Public Health provides Silver diamine fluoride to children enrolled on the WIC program at Washington or Henry County during WIC visits only. 

Other services provided: 
  • Oral health education
  • Dental screening
  • Fluoride varnish application
  • Referral to local dentists for treatment

call  319-653-7758 or 1-800-655-7758

For more information about Public Health Dental programs

Martha Hernandez
@ extension: 115

I-Smile Dental Coordinator


Lori Hobscheidt
@ extension 129 

Dental Assistant