Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Image Gently campaign offers advice on pediatric X-rays


The American Dental Association has partnered with more than 80 professional health are organizations – including nine other dental organizations - to encourage safe pediatric imaging during medical exams.

The Image Gently campaign has developed educational and scientific materials to help dental professionals optimize radiation dose during these pediatric exams. Image Gently has also produced downloadable materials to help parents ask more informed questions of their dental providers whenever scans are recommended for their children.

The campaign is conducted by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, founded by the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The participating professional organizations represent more than a million health care providers worldwide.

"Dentists use X-rays to diagnose disease or damage that isn't visible during an exam. Children may require X-rays as an adjunct aid to diagnose dental decay or to assess growth and development for orthodontic treatment." said ADA President Charles H. Norman III "It's important for dentists and parents to have meaningful conversations about children's X-rays."

Imaging has an important role in improved dental health – but children are, in general, more sensitive to radiation than adults. As such, health care providers should reduce radiation dose used in children's imaging and avoid unwarranted imaging. The Image Gently campaign encourages dental providers to consider the following guidelines:

  • Select X-rays for individual needs, not as a routine. Use X-rays only when essential for diagnosis and treatment — based on a review of the patient and their dental history. 

  • Use the fastest image receptor available. When film X-ray is used, select "E"- or "F"-speed. Set exposure parameters as low as possible for diagnostic digital imaging.

  • Use cone-beam CT (CBCT) only when necessary. CBCT should be restricted in children to cases in which it is essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Collimate beam to area of interest. For intraoral X-rays, collimation should be rectangular to match recording area of detector. For extraoral X-rays, including cone-beam CT, restrict beam to the area needed for diagnosis.

  • Always use thyroid shield. The thyroid gland in children is particularly sensitive to radiation. Use of a properly positioned shield significantly reduces the dose to the thyroid. 

  • Child-size the exposure time. Less exposure time needed for children as oral structures are smaller than in adults.

 Dental professionals are also urged to visit and pledge to Image Gently.

"The materials made available through the Image Gently campaign will help general and specialty dentists 'child size' their imaging techniques and provide even better and safer treatment to all patients, especially children," said Alan G. Lurie, immediate past president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. "To have North American and European dental societies involved in Image Gently sends a clear, strong message about the importance of this effort."

Image Gently alliance members in dentistry include the American Dental Association; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology; American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons; American Association of Endodontists; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; American Academy of Periodontology; American Dental Education Association; Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology; and the European Academy of DentoMaxilloFacial Radiology.



children , pediatric dentistry , xrays ,

Permanent link  Midwestern University clinic adds pediatric care to menu of services


Midwestern University’s Dental Institute recently announced the addition of pediatric dental care — exams, cleanings, tooth restoration, and minor oral surgery  — for children from age 5 and up. Orthodontic care is also available. Since some children can benefit from early orthodontic intervention, the Dental Institute strongly advises an orthodontic screening by age 7.

The Dental Institute is home to some of the most advanced technology and diagnostic tools available to help provide patients with quality dental care. Student dentists in their final years of professional training treat patients under the supervision of licensed faculty who have many years of private practice experience. As a teaching clinic, patients can expect comprehensive, compassionate care – at about half the cost.

The Dental Institute is part of Midwestern University’s Multispecialty Clinic located at 3450 Lacey Road, Downers Grove IL. For more information about the services offered at the Dental Institute, contact 630.743.4500 or visit


access to care , children , dental care , dental school , midwestern university , pediatric dentistry ,

Permanent link  New children's dental clinic opens in Lawndale


Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) has opened a new Health and Fitness Center in the Lawndale neighborhood. Complementing the indoor track and fitness machines is a clinic, offering comprehensive care for women and medical and dental care for children.

The Health and Fitness Center is located at 3750 W. Ogden Avenue. Alongside the fitness opportunities at the 60,000-square-foot facility are a cafe with freshly prepared healthy food options and classroom space for group fitness classes. 

 “With the new Health and Fitness Center, LCHC has created a new standard for improving the health of an urban, low-income community,” Bruce Miller, CEO of LCHC, said in a prepared release. “This model combines access to great clinical care with the key prevention tools of exercise, fitness and wellness in an environment where community residents can affordably engage themselves to solve chronic health issues like obesity and diabetes.” 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in a ribbon cutting at the new facility, and praised the ways in which it will promote a higher quality of life for Chicagoans and increase the overall economic and social vitality of the community.

The $24 million center was partially funded through a New Markets Tax Credit Program, a federal program that encourages new development, job growth and retention, education and small business growth in the country’s most economically depressed areas. U.S. Bank committed more than $6 million of New Markets Tax Credit equity to this project. The federal government granted an additional $10 million of federal stimulus funds to support construction.

The Health and Fitness Center is expected to achieve LEED gold certification for its environmentally friendly features, including its green roof and energy-efficient lighting. The Health and Fitness Center will also create 100 new jobs, including those for healthcare providers, fitness staff and custodians.

Find more information online.


access to care , children , pediatric dentistry ,

Permanent link  Kids First Health Fair needs volunteers in Lake County


Volunteer dentists, dental assistants and hygienists are needed for Lake County’s 20th annual Kids First Health Fair, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1.

This project of the Lake County Health Department Community Health Center, the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine and Science, and the United Way of Lake County allows Lake County families access to volunteer dentists and physicians who complete the required exams and medical forms that students need to get back to school.

Families that come to the fair in search of medical services that day also receive backpacks filled with school supplies – another key to their successful school year.

Debbie Warner, vision and hearing coordinator for Lake County and one of three chairs for the 20th Kids First Health Fair, expects about 1,000 families at the Health Fair. Eligible families must be Lake County residents and meet certain financial guidelines. They’ll come largely from working class neighborhoods in Waukegan, North Chicago and Gurnee for this free service that will get their children into their classrooms on the first day of school.

“The law is in place because the dental exam is an important part of being ready for school,” Ms. Warner said. Students whose exams return troubling results will be referred to the county’s clinic for follow-up care.

Many schools extend to families a grace period for completing the required medical forms. Forms due for the 2012-2013 academic year can be turned in as late as Oct. 15 in some areas. But the Waukegan schools require completed forms on the very first day of school; for these students especially, the Kids First Health Fair fulfills a tremendous need.

Ms. Warner said 600 volunteers are needed to staff the Kids First Health Fair, split into three shifts Aug. 1. The third shift – that in the late afternoon and early evening – will be the hardest to fill.

To learn more about the Kids First Health Fair and to volunteer, contact Debbie Warner at (preferred) or 847.377.8870.



access to care , children , pediatric dentistry , volunteer opportunity ,

Permanent link  Cavities on the rise among preschoolers: Dentistry in the news


Happy kid at the dentist 

New York Times reporter Catherine Saint Louis looks at why preschoolers are getting more cavities in yesterday's article, "Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities." 

From the article: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an increase, the first in 40 years, in the number of preschoolers with cavities in a study five years ago. But dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more…. 

There is no central clearinghouse for data on the number of young children undergoing general anesthesia to treat multiple cavities, but interviews with 20 dentists and others in the field of dental surgery suggest that the problem is widespread. 

We asked CDS member, pediatric dentist and mom Dr. Cissy Furusho for her thoughts about the article.

“I had a lot on my mind, and brushing his teeth was an extra thing I didn’t think about at night,” said Melody Koester, quoted in the article. 

Cissy Furusho Pediatric Dentist“I’ve heard that from many of my patients,” Dr. Furusho said. “And I get it. When you’re trying to get out of the house in the morning—maybe you’ve got three kids who all still need some help getting ready—it’s hard to make the time to make sure everyone brushes their teeth.”

Her advice? “In an ideal world, you’d make sure everyone brushes their teeth after breakfast,” she said. If that doesn’t work, she offers these tips:

If possible, brush after lunch instead. “Families need to make sure their kids brush their teeth at least twice a day. Once just won’t cut it.”

Let them try to brush their teeth themselves. “Afterwards, you’ll still want to get in there to make sure the teeth are brushed well, but hand them the toothbrush with a bit of toothpaste and see what they can do.”

Have everyone brush their teeth together. This works well if you have more than one kid. “You can make sure that everyone brushed their teeth that day,” Dr. Furusho said.

“I tell parents at my practice, ‘Any toothbrushing is better than none,’” Dr. Furusho said. “If your morning efforts aren’t thorough, you especially need to do a good job brushing their teeth in the evening.”

"It’s not just about kids in poverty, though kids of lower socioeconomic status tend to get more cavities,” said Dr. Rochelle Lindemeyer, director of the pediatric dentistry residency program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania dental school. Affluent families may have nannies who “pacify kids by giving them a sippy cup all day,” Dr. Lindemeyer said. 

“I encourage parents to make sure their caregivers are educated about oral health for children, especially infants and toddlers,” Dr. Furusho said. “Sometimes parents will bring their nannies or even grandparents with them on dental visits so that I can talk with them and teach them how to take care of children’s teeth. Parents need to make sure that whoever is caring for their kids know the basics about good oral health.”

Brushing teeth twice a day used to be nonnegotiable, [Dr. Lindemeyer] said, but not anymore. “Some parents say: ‘He doesn’t want his teeth brushed. We’ll wait until he’s more emotionally mature.’ It’s baffling,” she added. 

“If you can’t brush your child’s teeth well because they fight you, you need to increase the number of times you brush their teeth in a day,” Dr. Furusho said. “I tell patients, “If you brush 3-4 times a day, even if it’s a struggle, odds are that you’ll hit each tooth at least once.”

“I know kids can really resist getting their teeth brushed. But I look at this way. Some kids hate baths, others might not like having their nose wiped or their face cleaned. Does this mean we never wipe their nose or give them a bath? No, we do those things because we know it’s for their benefit, even if they hate it. Same goes with brushing their teeth,” said Dr. Furusho.

The level of decay, they added, is so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake. 

“It’s heart-breaking,” Dr. Furusho said, “because cavities are 100% preventable. Still, parents should know that using general anesthesia for dental visits is a matter of training and a dentist’s philosophy on how to best treat children. Not every dentist will insist on it, so you need to find the practice that’s right for you.”

Dr. Man Wai Ng , the dentist in chief at Children’s Hospital Boston, said she heard parents, rich and poor, make similar rationalizations about their preschoolers’ snacking, like, “I can’t ever imagine Johnny being hungry, so I’m laying out a whole-wheat spread that’s always available.” 

“Everything in moderation,” Dr. Furusho said. “With my own son, there are no off-limit foods. He even has gummies now and then. But with those sugary foods, you have to brush their teeth afterwards. It’s very important.”


dental care , oral health , pediatric dentistry ,