Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Announce New Oral Health Nitrous Oxide Sedation Initiative

By Lora Vitek on February 2, 2022 in In the Community


Hispanic mother with two children speaking to a dentistApproximately $1 Million Dollars in Grant Funding Available to Help Illinois Children.

The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation announced the creation of the Oral Health Nitrous Oxide Sedation Initiative, a new oral health program aimed at improving the oral health of children in Illinois. Both foundations are contributing $500,000 each in funding for programs designed to enable non-profit organizations to safely administer nitrous oxide to children requiring conscious sedation for oral health services.  

Due to many potential factors — age, physical or mental health challenges, high anxiety levels, for example— some children require conscious sedation to safely perform oral health services. This grant program will help ensure all Illinois children get the oral health care they need while reducing disparities in receiving this care.

Grants of up to $40,000 will be awarded to each non-profit organization and must be used within one year. Eligible organizations must operate in Illinois communities where quality, comprehensive oral health services may not be accessible to children.

Long-standing health and social inequities have increased the burden of accessing quality oral health services. These challenges are even more difficult for children. Children, for a variety of reasons, are not able to receive routine, necessary oral health services without an additional intervention such as nitrous oxide, which is an effective and safe way to manage pain and anxiety.      

Low-income children and minority children have a lower prevalence of dental sealants, a higher burden of disease and have significant unmet (oral health) treatment needs. Dental caries concentrate in population groups such as those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, are of racial or ethnic minority populations and are geographically isolated.1 Compounding these disparities are children who need services provided with additional intervention such as nitrous oxide.  

Through the Oral Health Nitrous Oxide Sedation Initiative, we hope to address disparities that prevent Illinois children from accessing oral health care and education in the state’s most vulnerable communities. We know communities have faced barriers and challenges in providing vital oral health services and education to children and their caregivers. We hope these grants will help address those needs while working toward our vision to give every child in Illinois the opportunity to grow up healthy.

We continue to strive for both health equity for all children throughout Illinois and improving the oral and overall health of Illinoisans. Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective means of pain management for children who require special accommodations when receiving oral health care services. This new grant program allows us to offer more training opportunities for dental staff, provide the needed resources to treat patients and expand the options for quality dental care to children across the state.

Eligible non-profit organizations may apply for the Oral Health Nitrous Oxide Grants beginning February 2, 2022 at ilchf.org. All proposals are due by March 11, 2022.

1Healthy Smiles Healthy Growth 2018-2019 report co-funded by Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute and Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation.