Oral health matters, even in tough times

Give Kids a Smile Day

UIC’s Tooth Fairy visits St. Malachy eighth-grader Serina Hughes as she gets a dental screening from second-year dentistry pediatric resident Agata Lefere Tuesday at Give Kids a Smile Day. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

The College of Dentistry doesn’t want oral health to be pushed aside during difficult economic times.

The college’s clinics have lost nearly 4,500 patients — most of them low income — since last year, when the Illinois legislature eliminated adult dental services from its Medicaid program and limited reimbursement for care to strictly “emergency” extractions.

The college is also losing opportunities to train dental students, said David Clark, associate dean for clinical affairs.

“Our goal is to promote optimum oral and general health to the people of the state of Illinois through patient care,” Clark said.

“We recognize the hardship the economy and the reduced, covered adult Medicaid services have placed on people, and we are developing ways to help those who have nowhere else to turn.”

To assist those who need dental care but cannot afford a private dentist, the college continues to offer new patient screenings for $67 at its undergraduate comprehensive care clinics. The cost includes a panoramic X-ray and examination.

The three undergraduate teaching clinics — each clinic has 56 operatories — offer a complete range of dental and oral health services, Clark said. Since it is an educational facility, all treatments are provided by dental students and supervised by experienced dental faculty.

The clinic is not free, but it does operate on a reduced fee schedule, Clark said. The fees were reduced further Jan. 7, he said, making the cost of treatment lower than at a private dental clinic.

A estimate of treatment costs is provided after a complete dental evaluation. Payment by cash, personal check or credit/debit cards is required at the time of treatment.

The college’s specialty clinics provide advanced treatment for implants, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral medicine, orthodontics, pediatrics, periodontics and prosthodontics.

For more information, call 312-996-1265.



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