Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Provides Free Dental Exams to Children in Chicago

Chicago, Ill. (Sept. 15, 2022) – Illinois children received free dental exams on Saturday, September 10, at Malcolm X College in Chicago.

The event was part of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 program, which educates parents and caregivers about good oral health habits and the benefits of starting dental visits early. Since 2012, Dentist By 1 events have raised awareness about the importance of early dental visits and provided free dental exams. To date, 439 Illinois children have been treated through the Dentist By 1 program.

About 76% of children attending this year’s event had never been to a dentist before, and 14% had cavities.

“Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases among children and can develop any time after the first tooth comes in, starting at around 6 months of age. By the time children celebrate their first birthday, they should have already seen the dentist or have a dental appointment scheduled,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Many parents are simply not aware that kids should visit the dentist by age 1. We are proud to partner with Malcolm X College to encourage early dental visits and provide free dental care to young children.”

“It was great that everyone was so attentive to the needs of the kids,” a parent who brought her 3-year-old son to the event for his first dental visit said. “They went out of their way to make my son feel welcomed and put his mind at ease both while we were waiting to come in and the whole time in the chair. I think he enjoyed it and hopefully will not be scared the next time is it time to come to the dentist.”

Scheduling a dental visit by age 1 allows a child and parent to establish a relationship with their dentist. It also sets the foundation for regular visits and good oral health habits.

At the event, volunteer dental teams from Illinois dental practices provided free preventive and diagnostic services, including dental cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays. Each child who attended the event also received an oral health kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and a dental care instructional sheet.

For more information about Dentist By 1, visit Dental Care for Children.