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DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department awarded $100,000 Wisdom Tooth Award from Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation

Grant will help update equipment and expand dental services to children

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (July 29, 2019) – Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is pleased to announce the recipient of its 2019 Wisdom Tooth Award — DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department. This $100,000 grant will help provide better access to oral health care for children in east central Illinois. The Wisdom Tooth Award will also help the department upgrade its equipment and increase its number of dental hygienists as it expands dental services into high schools in the coming year.

Two out of 5 students in DeWitt and Piatt counties are from low-income families and need better access to dental care. While the DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department provides dental checkups, sealants and treatments, outdated equipment is preventing the department from serving more area children.

“With the Wisdom Tooth Award providing the funds needed to upgrade equipment, we will be able to focus more on patient care instead of equipment care,” said Teale Hall, dental program manager for the DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department. “In addition, these new upgrades will allow us to treat patients faster and more efficiently since we will not have to delay treatment due to equipment maintenance. Since many of our patients have not visited the dentist in a long time, they often have fears of anesthesia, drills and X-rays. When we have to delay treatment, patients have more time to give into their fears and not seek treatment for dental issues until it is desperately needed.”

The DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department offers both a dental clinic in Clinton, as well as a school sealant program — partnering with six local school districts and Head Start programs to bring oral health care to children who would not otherwise receive it. More than 1,800 children received dental services from the health department last year. The Wisdom Tooth Award will also allow the department to expand its school dental sealant program into area high schools.

 “Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children,” Hall said. “Having a clinic that is integrated with the school program makes it easier for children to receive quality care. We go into the schools to apply dental sealants, which helps prevent cavities on children’s back teeth where the toothbrush sometimes can’t reach. Our school sealant program is growing, and we anticipate going into high schools with help from this grant as well.”

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation grants the Wisdom Tooth Award to an organization that significantly improves the oral health of Illinois children, keeping with its mission to improve oral health in Illinois through education, awareness and improved access to care.

“Since our mission is to improve the oral health of Illinois children, we are honored to present the 2019 Wisdom Tooth Award to DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department, “said Lora Vitek, director of enterprise philanthropy and community benefit for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Children in DeWitt and Piatt counties are in urgent need of dental services. This award will allow the health department to more efficiently provide oral health care to these children and to expand the program into high schools, as well.” 

Past recipients of the Wisdom Tooth Award include: Promise Healthcare in Champaign (2013); St. Bernard Hospital Dental Center in Chicago (2014); Central Counties Health Centers, Inc. in Springfield (2015); Crusader Community Health in Rockford (2016); University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry (2017) and Macoupin County Public Health Department (2018).

For more information about Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Wisdom Tooth Award or to support the Foundation, please visit deltadentalil.com/ddilfoundation.