• September 11, 2017

More than 800 low-income Illinois children with immediate dental needs are on a two-year waiting list for procedures that require general anesthesia at the College’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, has granted its fifth annual $100,000 Wisdom Tooth Award to the Department of Pediatric Dentistry for general anesthesia equipment that will help these children receive the critical oral health care they need sooner. 

Families travel from all over the State of Illinois for their children to receive care at the College’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry clinics, making the College the largest dental Medicaid provider for Illinois children. Of the more than 9,000 children served at the clinics annually, many must be treated under general anesthesia because of their young age, extensive dental treatment, or special health care needs. Limited access to operating rooms at the University of Illinois Hospital severely restricts access for children needing procedures. This award will support the plan to provide general anesthesia for pediatric patients directly in the College building. The College and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry are endeavoring to raise money for a pediatric dental ambulatory surgery center.

“We are delighted that our 2017 Wisdom Tooth Award will have a positive impact on so many children in Illinois,” said Bernie Glossy, president of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors and president and CEO of Delta Dental of Illinois. “We are honored to provide support that will help UIC College of Dentistry improve oral health access and reduce the amount of time children have to wait to receive dental treatment.”

Each year, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation grants the Wisdom Tooth Award to an organization that significantly improves the oral health of Illinois children, in keeping with its mission to improve oral health in Illinois through education, awareness and improved access to care. This year, the Foundation selected the College from 20 applicants.

“Sadly, we see many young children who already have a lot of cavities,” said Dr. Marcio da Fonseca, Head of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “Cavities are preventable, but many families lack access to dental care and the education that’s essential to properly care for children’s oral health.

“After waiting two years for a dental procedure, children’s minor dental issues can become serious, affecting both their oral and overall health,” Dr da Fonseca continued. “We are so thankful for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s support, which is vital in helping us treat children sooner and reduce the problems that can arise when dental issues go untreated.”

The Foundation, Dr. da Fonseca noted, “has been a wonderful friend to the College and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. Two years ago, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation provided a grant of $10,000 to furnish a recovery room for general anesthesia cases. They have been very good to us.”

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry collaborate annually on the Pediatric Oral Health Symposium held at the College. This year’s event was held on Saturday, Oct. 14, and was entitled: Contemporary Prevention and Management of Dental Cares and Adhesive Dentistry for Children. The speakers were Dr. Margherita Fontana from the University of Michigan and Dr. Ana Bedran-Russo from the College. 

The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation was formed in March 2008 by Delta Dental of Illinois, a not-for-profit dental service corporation with a mission to improve the oral health of the communities it serves. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $3 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the residents of Illinois.

For more information about Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Wisdom Tooth Award or to support the foundation, visit www.deltadentalil.com/ddilfoundation.

For more information about making a gift to the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, contact Mark J. Valentino, Associate Dean for Advancement, at (312) 413-7702 or email mjv@uic.edu.

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