August 02, 2022 | Downers Grove, IL
Local families with young children benefitted from an event at Midwestern University’s Dental Institute held in cooperation with the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation to provide dental care to children under the age of five.
The event was part of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 program, which educates parents and caregivers about good oral health habits and the benefits of starting dental visits early. Volunteer dental teams from Illinois dental practices were assisted by Midwestern University dental medicine students as they provided preventive and diagnostic dental care to nearly 30 families with young children at Midwestern University’s Multispecialty Clinic. Children attending the event also received cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants, and X-rays. About 93% of children attending the event had never been to a dentist before, and 22% showed signs of tooth decay.
“It is important for young children to visit the dentist because dentists can have an early start on disease prevention by teaching kids how to properly brush their teeth and educating their parents on good oral health. Seeing the dentist at a young age also teaches kids not to be afraid and helps little ones adjust to this type of environment,” said Jessica Ventenilla, a fourth-year dental student at Midwestern University and one of the volunteers at the event.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s first dental visit occur within six months after the first tooth appears, or no later than the child's first birthday. “Going to the dentist can cause children and adults to have anxiety or hesitation. Delta Dental of Illinois and the Dental Institute did a marvelous job of making the children and families feel comfortable and excited by having balloon animals, temporary tattoos, and dental superheroes. Most of the kids that I spoke to were enthusiastic to be seen by a dentist and had a positive experience,” said Midwestern University dental student Jennifer Duong.
Since 2012, Dentist By 1 events have raised awareness about the importance of early dental visits and provided free dental exams. To date, 418 Illinois children have been treated through the Dentist By 1 program. Midwestern University’s Dental Institute provides care for all ages while educating the dentists of tomorrow. Under the supervision and direction of licensed dental faculty, students provide comprehensive, compassionate care while building trusting relationships with their clients.