Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 community grant to assist Sarah Bush Lincoln in providing children with better access to oral healthcare.
The grant will be used toward the purchase of a new mobile dental bus, which will travel to more than 60 locations across seven counties providing preventive and restorative care to underserved children up to age 18. The bus will replace the now-inoperable one that was purchased in 2008. Sarah Bush Lincoln Dental Services staff provides care to uninsured children, those who receive benefits through Medicaid/AllKids and those whose parents have no means of transportation to a dentist.
“We are very appreciative of Delta Dental of Illinois for this grant and are thankful for their assistance in purchasing a new bus to provide thousands of underserved children with the dental care they need to live healthier, more productive lives,” SBL Dental Services director Laura Bollan said.
“Poor oral health is one of the most pressing, unmet healthcare issues facing Illinois children — particularly those living in poverty and rural areas,” Lora Vitek, executive director of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, said. “We are proud to partner with Sarah Bush Lincoln to address these issues by expanding oral health education and access to care for children throughout the region.”
With 20 percent of residents in SBL’s service area living below the poverty line, Bollan noted that one in eight children doesn’t even own a toothbrush and hundreds of children are suffering from severe dental decay. “Our dental team sees first hand that children withdraw from friends, quit sports and even fail in school due to dental pain, or because they’re embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth,” Bollan said. The SBL Dental Bus helps to remove transportation and financial barriers and often provides the only hope these children have for treatment.
SBL’s new dental bus will be equipped with two operatories and staffed by a dentist, hygienist and dental assistants. Restorative care services are scheduled in advance, with a rotating schedule among the participating schools/sites. This allows SBL Dental Services to bring needed care to the children on a continuous basis, accommodating follow-up care and fulfilling a child’s treatment plan.
About Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
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 overall health and well-being. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $8 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state’s residents.