Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  New App gets users brushing


If you find your patients with their noses buried in their smart phones and tablets while they wait for their appointments to begin, recommend an App to preview your oral hygiene message. Toothsavers calls on users’ competitive spirit to get kids brushing.
The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, a coalition of 36 leading organizations in the field of oral health, and the national Ad Council recently released the free app to encourage better oral health habits. Find Toothsavers online and in the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores
The game features:
 - 10 colorful characters whose teeth kids can clean with swipes and taps.
 - 10 two-minute animations to make brushing in real life fun.
 - 10 colorful cartoon teeth that animate to your voice in two-player mode.
 - An interactive map to chart each day and night that kids brush with Toothsavers.
 - New characters unlocked by brushing two minutes, twice a day with Toothsavers.
 - A parents' section to designate daily brushing times and monitor kids’ brushing progress on a calendar.
Toothsavers is the first mobile app to be entirely created by the Ad Council — a nonprofit organization that has been producing public service campaigns since 1942. It represents a big milestone in the Council’s efforts to use gaming and mobile technology to effect social change. 
The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives shares the view that no child should be in pain and suffer broader health issues or endure the social stigma and lack of opportunity resulting from untreated dental diseases and conditions. Its primary mission is to teach parents and caregivers, as well as children themselves, to take control of their own health through oral disease prevention.
This campaign aims to motivate parents to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure their kids are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day.


children , consumer products , public health , websites ,

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  Help keep adult dental services in the Medicaid program


Did you receive an email from the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign today?  It reminded local voters that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the State Legislature are conducting a review of all Medicaid services to find $2.7 billion in budget cuts. Adult dental services are on the chopping block for possible elimination due to their classification as “optional services” under federal reimbursement guidelines.

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign urged voters to help the governor and their elected officials understand that elimination of the adult services is not the answer; it will instead shift the burden to emergency rooms that can not treat the underlying dental condition.

You can read the full message from the Bridge to Health Smiles campaign here.

If you agree and want to help, the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign encourages you to call Gov. Quinn and your legislators and explain why they must not cut the adult dental funding and what the impact will be on the underserved population. 

Governor Quinn’s office can be reached at 217.782.0244 during business hours.

The Illinois State Dental Society has provided on its website links to help you identify your elected representative, and an outline of talking points for when you call that person’s legislative office:

  • The adult dental program is a state-optional program and only accounts for about 20 percent ($51 million) of the entire dental appropriation in the FY-12 budget, which is projected to be $300 million. Since the federal government pays half of the Medicaid costs, the State of Illinois’ savings would only be $25.5 million.
  • If the adult dental program is eliminated, much or all of the savings in the dental appropriation would be offset due to increased State spending for those patients who present to hospital emergency rooms seeking pain relief.
  • In most cases, emergency rooms are only able to provide pain medication and antibiotics, which temporarily address the clinical concerns.
  • The Pew Center issued a report on February 28, 2012, that documented a 15.8 percent increase in emergency room visits from 2006-2009 in states that reduced or eliminated adult dental care programs.





access to care , dental benefits , dental news , legislation , medicaid , public health , state of illinois ,

Permanent link  Health care reform and dentistry


Teresa Duncan, founder of Odyssey Management, has a great blog post on health care reform and dentistry.

It's an even-handed look at the good and bad in the bill for the dental community. She writes:

Education wise - it's looking good. Grant money will become available (separate from the $60 million) to provide sealants to children, conduct studies on caries disease management and keep school-based clinics running.....

[Legislators] changed the requirement for Medicaid so more will be eligible but no consideration was given to increasing Medicaid reimbursement. Dentists that offer Medicaid limit the numbers within their practice - for good reason. You can easily lose money treating Medicaid patients. It's not a selfish, motivated by big bucks reason - it's a business decision. Maintaining quality with increased quantity can only happen when you can scale the business. Since most dentists are solo practitioners this is impractical so they have to limit the Medicaid quantity.


health care reform , public health ,

Permanent link  National Childrens Oral Health Foundation at Midwinter Meeting


Trucia Drummond, DDS, talks with Jennifer Drake, program administrator of the National Children's Oral Health Foundation, about the NCOHF's affiliate network and the educational products and services it provides. Facts about pediatric dental disease are available here.

Plus: Dr. Drummond puts her puzzle skills to the test building a mouth that is larger-than-life.


pediatric dentistry , public health , liveblogging , midwinter meeting 2010 ,