Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Get ready for Brush Day


Do you remember the Ad Council? They were responsible for all the Public Service Announcements were remember from childhood:

  • “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,”
  • “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”
  • and, more recently “I am an American.”

The Ad Council has turned its attention to National Brush Day, which will be celebrated Nov. 1. The day after Halloween will be an ideal time to remind parents and children about the importance of good habits for healthy teeth.

The Ad Council is armed with facts like these: 

  • Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease
  • Less than half of children brush their teeth twice a day
  • In the United States, oral disease causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually
  • Dental decay affects 16.5 million children in the United States.

 To combat these trends, the Ad Council is working with the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives to supply parents with simple ways to improve their children’s oral health. They’re the same recommendations you give your own patients about how much toothpaste to use and when to start taking a child to the dentist. But they’ve also built a website. offers a collection of free, two-minute videos— featuring characters from Sesame Street, Cartoon Network and My Kazoo —which kids can watch while brushing. The two-minute clips also help parents easily measure the amount of brushing time that is recommended by leading dental health experts.

Find your child’s favorite character there today.



children , consumer products , dentistry , dentists , patient ,

Permanent link  Dental student's posters helps patients understand dental X-rays


Connecticut dental student Jevin Carruth knows that an increasing number of patients are questioning the safety of dental x-rays. His challenge, however, was to find a simple answer that would put patients at ease.

He sought information from sources like the American Nuclear Society to show the amount of radiation given off by dental X-rays compared to other common sources of radiation, such as a cross-country flight. He added visual elements to illustrate complicated scientific principles for common use, and he laminated it for repeated reference in the dental office. His poster, "Radiation Facts" compares dental X-rays to sunlight, breathing, and a full-body CT scan.


Today, Mr. Carruth is selling this illustration to clinicians the country. Posters and handouts are available in three colors for purchase in packages ranging from $15-$100, with 10 percent of sales to CDS members benefitting the Illinois Mission of Mercy. 

For more information contact Mr. Carruth, UCONN School of Dental Medicine Class of 2015, at

Remind him that you learned about it from CDS, so that the Illinois Mission of Mercy benefits from your purchase.



consumer products , dental education , patient , products , xrays ,

Permanent link  Tell your patients about Prescription Drug Take-Back Day


This weekend is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This Saturday, Sept. 29, people can bring their unwanted or expired medications — including opioid painkillers — to disposal sites across the country.

The American Dental Association is supporting this effort, and encouraging all dentists to talk with their patients and staffs about safely securing and disposing of unused, unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals.

"This is yet another way that we can be leaders in our communities and do our part to help improve drug abuse awareness," Chicago Dental Society president John Gerding said. "The increase in drug use among our middle through high school aged children is alarming, and an event such as Saturday's is one more step in our battle to stay on top of this problem."

Prescription medications are now the most commonly abused drugs among children ages 12–13, and second to marijuana among young adults, according to 2010 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Studies show that a majority of these drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Dentists and their staff can help address this problem:

  • Tell patients or their caregivers about the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
  • Encourage patients to visit the Medicine Abuse Project at, where they can learn how to safely secure, monitor and dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications.
  • Have a list of local DEA-approved prescription drug disposal sites. You can search by zip code online.

 On the last Take-Back Day, April 28, Americans brought a record 276 tons of prescription drugs for proper disposal to more than 5,600 locations. 

"Drug-seeking behavior has changed dramatically in recent years," said ADA President William Calnon, in a prepared release. “For that reason, we are also urging dentists to refresh their knowledge about opioid prescribing in the context of modern-day drug seeking behavior."



ada , consumer products , patient , safety ,

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 ,