Back-to-School Appointments: 3 Specialists Your Student Should See Before September

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The end of August is always a supremely-busy time for families. After all, there are few days of summer fun remaining and so many tasks to check off before the school bell rings once again. There are also a number of expenditures to account for, seeing as parents and kids will spend roughly $26.2 billion during the 2019 back-to-school shopping season.

Since this time of year is both exciting and stressful, it’s understandable that you might forget to prioritize your child’s health check-ups in between the rush of buying school supplies and new clothes. But before your child becomes one of the 56.6 million students who will attend elementary, middle, or high school in the US this year, you’ll want to make sure to schedule some medical appointments to ensure everything is truly good-to-go come September. Here are just three of the specialists you’ll want your student to see before then.

General practitioner

Fortunately, most parents understand the importance of a yearly exam performed by a general practitioner or pediatrician. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 93.6 percent of children have contact with their physician during a given year. While you should certainly make an appointment if your child is feeling under the weather, it’s also recommended that children see their doctor for an annual checkup to ensure proper health and development. Annual physicals can allow children, parents, and medical staff to stay on top of any issues and present an opportunity to ask essential questions. What’s more, a sports physical may be required if your child plans to play on any school teams. Although your family physician’s schedule may be rather crowded around this time of year, it’s a good idea to call and make an appointment when you can. Even if there are no openings before the official start of school, this will ensure that any vaccinations or other concerns can be addressed properly.

Dentist

Many adults and children alike dread going to the dentist, but it should be an essential part of the back-to-school routine. Considering that kids with poor oral health habits are more likely to miss school and receive lower grades than children who have no dental problems, now’s the time to take action. Approximately 20 percent of children between the ages of five and 11 have an untreated cavity, but the preventative care provided by dentists can drastically reduce the risk of cavities.

Even if your child has healthy teeth, this may be a good time to think about straightening their smile. A visit to the orthodontist may also be in order if your dentist recommends it. The American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends that children see an orthodontist by the time they turn seven to address issues associated with crooked or crowded teeth, as well as misaligned bites and jaws. Having their smile professionally assessed can allow children to start off the school year right.

Optometrist

Once school begins, your child will need to read what’s on the blackboard, projector, or screen with ease. That’s not always possible if there are undiagnosed eye issues at play. If your child has vision problems, they may experience difficulty reading, poor focus, squinting, frequent headaches, and more. To set your child up for success this year, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with their eye doctor. In 2016, approximately 36.2 percent of girls and 29.1 percent of boys aged six to 17 wore glasses or contact lenses — and it’s possible that your young student may need to join them. An optometrist can conduct eye examinations, provide ongoing care, and even provide contact lens exam and fitting options for your family. With all that in mind, it’s easy to see why these appointments should be a priority for the new school year.

There may not be much time to squeeze in a medical appointment for your child before school begins again, but remember that some progress is better than none. By aiming to have these appointments scheduled as soon as possible, you’ll be able to cross necessities off your to-do list before the month is over.