September 15, 2020
September 14 2020
The UIC College of Dentistry is proud to announce that they opened (soft-opening) Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation Pediatric Dentistry Outpatient Care Center (ILCHF PD-OCC) on September 8 2020. Planning is underway for the formal launch of the ILCHF PD-OCC, but the date has yet to be determined due to challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center offers general anesthesia for pediatric dentistry. The outpatient care center is shared with the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and represents a collaboration to support the communities seeking complex oral health care at UIC.
Driven by the ILCHF primary grant, other generous supporters include the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Wisdom Tooth Award, The Coleman Foundation, Healthy Communities Foundation, Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, the Bisco Charitable Foundation, UIC Division of Specialized Care for Children, and a funding partner wishing to remain anonymous.
“We are very grateful for their support, which totaled $3.3 million for the infrastructure to create the Center as well as private philanthropy to create a safe space for pediatric dental care under general anesthesia,” said Dean Clark M. Stanford, DDS, PhD, MHA, and UIC Distinguished Professor.
The ILCHF PD-OCC creates an opportunity to provide comprehensive oral health care in an efficient and timely manner. The ILCHF was very helpful in connecting the College to other private foundations that allowed the College to create this center, which fulfills an important part of the College’s mission and vision.
The ILCHF PD-OCC is located on the first floor of the College within a common shared suite with the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and has two general anesthesia (GA) suites that will serve 1,000 children annually from three to seventeen years of age needing oral health care under GA. Apart from the GA suites, there will be four procedure rooms for oral, nasal, or intravenous sedation for oral surgery procedures. The center’s inter-professional teams consist of pediatric and oral surgery dental faculty and residents, an anesthesiologist, a social worker, auxiliary staff, and a nurse, among others.
The ILCHF PD-OCC project was initiated in response to the high volume of children who come to the Pediatric Dentistry clinics at the UIC College of Dentistry in need of GA, which often resulted in a lengthy waitlist of hundreds of children in need. The ILCHF PD-OCC enables the College to address the needs of those pediatric patients and their families, improving oral health and an overall quality of life.
“The Center will greatly improve our ability to serve the children in need of dental care under GA within an acceptable timeframe. Because of our large volume of patients, many had to wait many months to get an appointment. Once the Center is fully operational, we hope that the wait time will be only a few weeks after the child’s initial appointment. That is crucial to improve the quality of life of the child and the family,” said Dr. Marcio da Fonseca, Chicago Dental Society Foundation Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
The ILCHF PD-OCC will serve healthy children at low risk of complications. Patients with complex medical issues needing advanced medical support for their dental treatment under GA will continue to be treated in the UI Hospital main operating room.
Dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease of childhood and may have long-lasting effects, leading to a low quality of life and systemic problems, such as cardiac and mental health issues in adulthood. The pain and facial swelling dental decay can cause affects the child’s daily life – many cannot chew properly, sleep or pay attention at school. It can also affect their self-esteem and cause financial problems for the family, with parents having to take time off from work to care for a child in pain and/or paying for dental expenses out of pocket. Due to the lack of providers in their communities, many caregivers seek care at hospital emergency rooms, where care is costly and usually does not solve the problem.
The Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the UIC College of Dentistry is the largest provider of pediatric dental care in Illinois, serving almost 10,000 patients from birth to 17 years of age every year from all over the State in 30,000 scheduled visits.
“Most of our patients are from low-income minority families, who are disproportionately affected by dental disease, and have public aid dental insurance. Illinois has one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country, which discourages many private practitioners from accepting patients on public aid plans, who in turn seek care at UIC. We are proud of our prominent role in the community’s oral health care and look forward to being able to care for even more pediatric patients and their families,” explained Dr. da Fonseca.