Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Find help treating patients with Crohn's disease


Do you have patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis?

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, has redesigned its website with healthcare providers like you in mind. Check it out at 

“We engaged key stakeholders to create a user-friendly, multi-media experience that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. Our job is to provide accurate, unbiased information about inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and the progress we are making toward finding cures,” CCFA president Richard Geswell said in a prepared release.

An estimated one in 200 Americans have IBD, and many of them need critical information and support for the treatment and ongoing management of their diseases. Particular to their oral care, patients with IBD may experience frequent canker sores (as either a symptom of IBD or a result of nutritional deficiencies) and reduced bone mineral densities; they are also likely to take medication to control their IBD, which could affect their dental treatment. Find more information about patients with IBD online here and here.

CCFA also maintains a hotline, where healthcare providers and patients can ask questions of real, live people over the phone during normal business hours.

“The website was designed to be a resource for the entire CCFA community with a special emphasis on the newly diagnosed,” Mr. Geswell said. “It is critical that we are able to serve our patients quickly when they need us the most, which is typically at the time of diagnosis or during a flare.”


Permanent link  Healthcare centers partner to provide free HIV tests in June


The Lake County Health Department and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) are two of more than 20 local healthcare organizations working together to promote Step Up, Get Tested, a campaign to reduce the number of undiagnosed and new cases of HIV. Events are scheduled on and around Wednesday, June 27, National HIV Testing Day.

The State of Illinois has the 6th largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country: 34,000 residents. Geographically, the city of Chicago represents 65 percent of new cases in the state, with the suburbs of Chicago following at 22 percent.

 “Our goal in Healthy Chicago, the City’s public health agenda, is to reduce the number of new infections of HIV by 25 percent. This campaign is the perfect example of how we can achieve this goal and that is by collaborating with community partners that are committed to preventing the spread of HIV,” said Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, in a prepared release.

A series of local testing events will offer free, rapid HIV testing services, prevention education and other resources. The campaign will also highlight health centers and hospitals that offer HIV testing as a part of their regular healthcare offerings throughout the year.

In Chicago, these events include:


  • June 21, 9 - 11 p.m. – Night Ministry Mobile Van Testing at the corner of Belmont and Halsted
  • June 23, 4 - 6 p.m. – Dyke March at Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
  • June 27, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – The Care Center at Jackson Park Hospital, 7531 S. Stony Island
  • June 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – STEP UP, GET TESTED at the Fantus Clinic courtyard, 1901 W. Harrison St.


Learn more at CCHHS's website.

In Lake County June 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., anyone, 13 years of age or older, can stop by the Lake County Health Department's Belvidere Medical Building, 2400 Belvidere Road in Waukegan to receive a free rapid HIV test that is done using a simple oral swab. Free hepatitis C screenings using the finger stick technology recently approved by the FDA will also be available. Results for either or both tests are available within 20 minutes.

Along with rapid testing, information about other health and environmental services provided by the Health Department will be available along with free food and a children's play area with large inflatable slides and a bubble bouncer. Community partners participating in the event include Catholic Charities of Lake County, Alexian Brothers' The Harbor AIDS Ministry, and NICASA, a substance abuse/behavioral health organization.

For more information about services offered through the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center's program, contact Lake County directly at 847.377.8450.




Illinois , patient ,

Permanent link  Patients are thankful for care at the 2012 Mission of Mercy


Enjoy this feedback from a few patients seen Friday at the 2012 Illinois Mission of Mercy.


“My friend told me about this opportunity. I’m missing some teeth and I need a partial. I can go to the County, but they don’t do partials and everything costs money. I have $18 in my checking account. I don’t know what all they’re offering here, but I’m here to go with the flow.

I’m so grateful. This is a blessing.”

-Ellen, of Wauconda, who celebrated her 63rd birthday the day before she attended the Mission of Mercy 


“I live in a senior building in Antioch and they were handing out flyers for this event. I came to get my eyes checked. Five years ago I paid $600 for these glasses, but I can’t do that now; I’m on a fixed income. They sent me here to get my teeth taken care of, too.

“This is fabulous. It’s fantastic. I can’t believe it. I’m calling my daughter to come, too, because I just can’t get over it.”

-Mary, age 80, of Antioch 


“We got excellent care, and were treated with respect and dignity. My hygienist from the College of Lake County told me about this, and when I saw her here today I gave her a big hug.”

-Cheri, of Grayslake, who got two fillings and a vision exam at the Mission of Mercy. She and her husband brought their friend Sherrie, from Chicago. 


“The people here are all phenomenal. I took the day off of work, and came up on the train. I spent the night at my friend’s house. We got up at 4:30 a.m. and left at 6 a.m. to get here.”

-Sherrie, of Chicago, who had two extractions and received a partial before heading off to have her eyes examined. 




access to care , patient ,

Permanent link  Read what the 2012 Mission of Mercy volunteers were saying


Here’s what some of the volunteers were saying at the 2012 Illinois Mission of Mercy:


“This is my opportunity to give back to our communities. I really enjoyed participating in the 2010 Mission of Mercy; many of the patients I worked with were so thankful and so happy. And I knew that in this economy there would be more work to do this weekend.

“One of the patients I worked with today was a woman in her 50s from St. Louis. She’s been unemployed for three years, and she’s staying in a homeless shelter this weekend so that she can come here to get a root canal and glasses. She said it was worth it for her to make the trip.

“I believe that helping other people is priceless; we can not put a value on it. The ways that strangers are helping each other here is driving home that humanity is not dead and there is still good in this world.”

-Denise Hale, dentist 


“We had a long day of set up Thursday, but I was still excited to get over here Friday and open the doors. It was a good tired.

“We came back at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday and talked to some of the patients who were already in line. That was a real boost to the spirit to talk with them, and it made it that much more exciting to open the doors this morning.

“There is so much need in our state, and nowhere for patients to go. This is but a Band-Aid on the system, but we’re bringing it to the people who need it, and I love being a part of that. I talked to a patient this morning who had extractions and fillings and got a partial for her four front teeth, and she was thrilled. She said her birthday is coming up in August, and she’s really going to celebrate it.”

-Mark Humenik 

State co-chair for the 2012 Illinois Mission of Mercy 


“We’ve got 16 chairs and 100 volunteers in the hygiene area this weekend. We’re seeing lots of adults with special needs and middle-income adults who are suddenly without jobs or insurance, and we’re really promoting getting back in line for extra care that they need while they’re here.

“We’re seeing a lot of families, and we’re able to educate the moms while they’re here. We had one little girl here who has never eaten an apple because her teeth hurt too much. And we saw a woman without front teeth come in for a cleaning, and she was crying when the dentist said we’d be able to get her a flipper today. She said, ‘Now I can go look for a job.’

“I hope one day we’re out of a job. My motto is that we save the world one tooth at a time.”

-Tami Wanless, hygienist 


“I think the message to legislators is that our profession cares about giving back. We’ve got the entire dental family working together here today, as well as a public/private partnership teaming up with the professional organizations. It’s a tremendous model for other entities in our state to follow.

“I think when you look at the whole event lawmakers will see that oral health is part of overall health, and that’s why these groups are coming together here. There are a lot of adults who need help and are getting it here; what will they do next?

“I’ve been working on a complicated third molar extraction, as well as a situation where we were getting some teeth out and an immediate denture in. It’s for a young man; it will really change his life, and it would have been quite costly in a private setting.”

-David Miller, dentist 

Chief, Division of Oral Health, Illinois Department of Public Health 


“We’re all out here because giving is contagious. We all do it in our offices all the time, but when we get together to do it, there’s a spontaneous, combustible explosion, and it’s awesome.

“People are so pleased with the streamlined expediency of their experience. They’re getting comprehensive care and they’re not being treated any differently than any of our other patients.”

-David Fulton Jr., dentist 


“More and more people are needing more work done now that Medicaid is being cut back. I’m really enjoying the benefits of having physicians here on site to address some of the other issues we’re hearing about and dispense the medications the patients needs. To be able to go just a few more steps and have some of your other needs met — I think more and more of our dental patients are taking advantage of that.”

-Mary Starsiak, dentist 



“Part of being a dentist is service. Sometimes the goal isn’t monetary, but just to help your fellow man. With the current state of jobs and insurance and Medicaid, this is the only care some patients can get.

This year, having the whole medical team here with us in one place, we can get so much more done to try and be preventive.”

-Richard Holba, dentist 


“There’s lots of work that all builds to these two days. But it makes it worth it when you see people finally coming in the doors, some of whom have been camping out overnight get the care they need. Dentistry is a generous service profession, and it’s exciting to work this weekend with other medical professionals on site.

“People are desperate. There is lots of dental need in our communities, and things are getting worse. The patients who are coming through here are surprised at how much we can do for them and that it’s all free.

“Patients can walk out and find that we’ve given them a smile or a new lease on life — it can be a turning point for many of these patients. I want them all to leave with hope.”

-Brad Barnes, dentist 

Clinical Chair for the 2012 Illinois Mission of Mercy 


“Patients have some really poignant stories, and as soon as you hear them you know why you’re here. We’re all giving up and sacrificing something to be here, but it felt really good to open the doors this morning. This can be life-saving and changing for the patients on the receiving end.”

-Jay Landers, Executive Director 

Illinois State Dental Society Foundation 



access to care , philanthropy , volunteer opportunity ,

Permanent link  Hundreds receive care at the Illinois Mission of Mercy


The 2012 Mission of Mercy, cohosted by the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation and the CURE Network, posted an astounding 2,082 patient encounters in two days, June 8-9, at the Lake County Fairgrounds. This included 1,288 dental encounters.

“There is so much need in our state, and nowhere for patients to go. This is but a Band-Aid on the system, but we’re bringing it to the people who need it, and I love being a part of that,” said Mark Humenik, a Northbrook dentist who co-chaired the event with dentist Brad Barnes, of Normal.

Just like the 2010 Illinois Mission of Mercy, this year’s event brought volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants together to deliver free dental care to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary treatment.

But new in 2012 was the partnership with the CURE Network, which added physicians, nurses and optometrists to the clinical environment. Basic medical screenings, including blood pressure readings, cholesterol checks, breast exams and PAP smears, as well as eye exams were offered on site. Eyeglasses were ground in a mobile lab also on the premises.

The Illinois State Dental Society reported 363 medical encounters and 432 vision encounters at the 2012 Mission of Mercy.

Patients and volunteers alike were in high spirits during the event. Friends Cheri, of Grayslake, and Sherrie, of Chicago, could be heard laughing in the dental triage area while they waited for their turns with the doctors.

“The people here are all phenomenal. I took the day off of work, and came up on the train. I spent the night at my friend’s house. We got up at 4:30 a.m. and left at 6 a.m. to get here,” said Sherrie, who had two extractions and received a partial before heading off to have her eyes examined.

Cheri, her host, echoed her appreciation.

“We got excellent care, and were treated with respect and dignity. My hygienist from the College of Lake County told me about this, and when I saw her here today I gave her a big hug.”

Read more feedback from patients and volunteers on the CDS Blog.

See photos from the event on the CDS Facebook Page.






access to care , public health , volunteer opportunity ,

Permanent link  State of the Health of Chicago summit convened


On June 4, the Institute of Medicine Chicago brought policymakers, health care providers and advocates together for a “State of the Health of Chicago” summit. The summit covered issues affecting the health of all city residents. Among the speakers were Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Dr. Ramanathan Raju, CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospital System, and Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

President Toni Preckwinkle spoke to the challenges of administering a social safety net health care system for 5.3 million residents. Some of the facts she shared during her talk:

  • 35 percent of the county budget is health care, or approximately $1 billion. 
  • 58 percent of inpatients in health care system have no insurance.
  • 8-10 percent of uninsured patients come from outside the county, from areas without public health hospitals.
  • The county will be replacing four board members within the next month.
  • There is a long lead time to fill positions within the healthcare system because of lawsuits over hiring.
  • While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act excludes undocumented workers, the county will continue to treat them.
  • The county is moving aggressively to obtain a waiver from the federal government to enroll residents who will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014 under health care reform.

Dr. Ramanathan Raju also spoke about the situation within the county. Specifically, he discussed difficulties in allocating resources, the need to emphasize primary and preventative care to reduce costs spent on specialty treatment, and the shift of uninsured patients from the city to the south suburbs.

Finally, Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Health, presented the city’s health care initiative, Healthy Chicago, which was launched in 2011. You can view the slidedeck from his presentation online. A few items worth noting:

  • HIV prevention is the largest unit within CDPH.
  • The city has recruited Dr. Stephanie Whyte to be the medical director of the Chicago Public Schools; school-based dental care is an important area of focus.
  • The city is partnering with seven federally qualified health centers to provide care.
  • The department wants to work with philanthopic groups to strengthen the Healthy Chicago initiative.

 The Institute of Medicine Chicago has pledged that this summit will be the first of many and that the dental community will be part of the agenda. We'll keep you informed.


access to care , Illinois ,

Permanent link  Speakers, topics announced for Sept. 19 Virtual Reality Meeting


The Chicago Dental Society announces the speakers and topics for the Sept. 19 
Virtual Reality Meeting. This event is open to all dentists and their staffs.

Speakers and topics

  • Lou Graham, DDS: Building the Ideal Hygiene/Dentist Team into a Recession-proof Office (Practice Management)
  • Robert Lowe, DDS: Minimally Invasive Aesthetic Dentistry (Porcelain, indirect composites and prefabricated composite veneers)
  • Gail Williamson, RDH, MS: Troubleshooting Common Image Errors (Radiology)
  • Lawrence Zager, DDS: Has Dentistry Become a Subspecialty of Medicine (Systemic Health)

Sit in the comfort of your own home or office while earning CE credits and meeting with exhibitors. Our CE program will feature a lineup of outstanding speakers presenting one hour programs, 1 CE hour per program. You must view each program in its entirety to earn CE credit for that portion of the Virtual Reality Meeting.

In addition, you will be able to visit with several exhibitors in our virtual Exhibit Hall, and meet and chat with other attendees in our Networking Lounge.

Registration is required

Register Now button 

Our Exhibitors

The Sept. 19 Virtual Reality Meeting exhibitors include Bosworth Company, Crest Oral B and Kerr Corp. 

Bosworth Logo    Crest OralB logo   Kerr logo