Nearly two years after the DuPage Community Clinic shuttered its dental practice, leaving uninsured patients with few local options, the Chicago Dental Society Foundation Dental Clinic has opened in Wheaton.
Volunteer dentists and hygienists are providing free basic dental care to uninsured patients from DuPage,Cook and Lake counties. Patients need only to show proof of residency and income below 200 percent of the poverty level.
“When we care for these patients in a dental office early, offering preventative care that keeps them out of pain and out of the ER, everyone benefits,” said dentist Kevin King, one of several Chicago Dental Society members who have worked to open the new clinic at 416 E. Roosevelt Road and a frequent clinic volunteer. “There’s a significant issue with access to care in Illinois at this time, and we have an opportunity to help those truly in need.”
The Chicago Dental Society released a report in February which details the poor state of access to care in Illinois. DuPage, Cook and Lake counties lost 12 of 44 public health dental clinics in recent years; that leaves only 32 clinics for the tri-county area, with several lacking a dentist. Find the report at http://on.cds.org/BrokenSmiles
At Cook County Department of Public Health clinics, patients routinely wait up to three months for an appointment. And Illinois’ $1.6 billion cut in Illinois Medicaid program in 2012 restricted adult benefits to emergency tooth extractions only.
Milly Goldstein, chair of the Chicago Dental Society Foundation, applauded the volunteers’ efforts to open this free clinic.
“I applaud their commitment to the community. They recognized that something is wrong and they found a solution. It is our pleasure as a foundation to support CDS members in this way. It makes sense, it provides access to care, and it’s helping us to do the right things.”
The CDS Foundation Dental Clinic has three operatories for treating patients, as well as X-ray facilities. It is located at 416 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton. While there is ample parking in an adjacent lot, the clinic is also served by a Pace bus route which begins at the Wheaton Metra station.
Patients with proof of income and residency in DuPage, Cook and Lake counties are seen by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call 630.260.8530 or email CDS.Foundation.Clinic@gmail.com.