60 Chicago area children received dental care at August 27 event
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation recently provided free dental care to 60 children, age 5 and younger, at its annual Dentist By 1 event on Saturday, August 27, at Elgin Community College. Nearly $5,500 worth of dental care was provided by 17 oral health professionals.
At the event, children received free preventive and diagnostic services such as cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays. Oral health education and referrals for additional dental care were also provided.
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 program began in 2012 with two goals – to educate caregivers about why children should visit the dentist by age 1 and maintain ongoing visits, as well as to provide training to oral health professionals to help them gain the skills needed to treat young children.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children visit the dentist by age 1,” said Lora Vitek, director of philanthropy & community relations for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Visiting the dentist and establishing good oral health habits at an early age can greatly reduce a child’s risk for tooth decay, which is the most common disease among children. It all starts with prevention and education and that’s why our Dentist By 1 program focuses on both in an effort to reduce tooth decay among Illinois children.”
At this year’s event, the average age of the children treated was 3 years old, two-thirds of the children had never been to the dentist before and about a quarter of the children showed signs of tooth decay. Vitek says the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation aims to change these statistics by continuing to expand its education efforts and raise the awareness of the importance of age 1 dental visits.
By visiting the dentist by age 1, the child and parent can establish a relationship with a dentist, which can help set a foundation for good dental health care and habits. In addition, studies show that early preventive dental care like check-ups and cleanings can save in future dental treatment costs. When a child can’t articulate the pain resulting from dental infection, once he or she visits the dentist, the damage can be so severe it requires multiple dental visits, oral surgery or extractions – all of which could have been avoided with proper dental care.
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 event takes place over two days and is comprised of a dental training session for oral health professionals on the first day and a community service event on the second day where oral health professionals can provide free dental care to young children. To date, nearly 150 oral health professionals from across Illinois have participated in a Dentist By 1 training, and nearly 200 children have received free dental care at a Dentist By 1 event.
This year’s Dentist By 1 event was sponsored by Elgin Community College, Greater Elgin Family Care Center, Henry Schein Dental and Crest/Oral-B®. Each year, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation holds Dentist By 1 events in a different area of the state; Dentist By 1 training sessions and events have been held in Champaign, Elgin, Mattoon, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield.
To learn more about the Dentist By 1 program or to make a donation to help provide more dental care to more children, please visit: https://dentistby1.com/illinois/.