Strengthening and Building the Capacity of the Oral Health Safety Net System
General Oral Health Care for Children
One strategy to ensure all children have access to quality oral health services in their communities is to fund those programs designed to increase access to oral health care by establishing new services or expanding existing services in clinical settings as well as strengthening capacity of the oral health network in funding initiatives that address the barriers preventing children from receiving optimal levels of oral heatlh care.
Over the past 7 years, the Foundation has invested over $22 million in 130 projects throughout the state of Illinois. These investments funded operatories, dentists and other oral health professionals, dental education/workforce development and outreach initiatives. The new and/or expanded clinics are projected to serve well over 200,000 children annually.
Services to Children with Special Health Care Needs
Access to oral health services for children with special health care needs is even more limited than access to general oral health services. According to the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, Chartbook 2005-2006 (HRSA), nationally, 13.9% of children age 18 and younger are estimated to have special health care needs. Illinois has approximately the same percentage equating to 450,000 children.
Based on these statistics, ILCHF is committed to increasing access to oral health services for children with special health care needs.
How does ILCHF define special health care needs? ICLHF has adopted the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's definition of children with special health care needs:
Children with special health care needs are individuals who have "any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that required medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be developmental or acquired and may cause limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.
Furthermore, ILCHF also endorses the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's statement that health care for individuals with special needs required specialized knowledge, increased awareness and attention, adaptation, and accommodative measures beyond what are considered routine.
When providing oral health services to children with special health care needs, at times, anesthesia may be required. When general anesthesia or sedation for dental procedures is considered necessary, ILCHF looks towards the guidelines as published by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org), the American Dental Association (www.ada.org) and American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org).
Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation 1200 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 301 Oak Brook, IL 60523 (p) 630.571.2555 (f) 630.571.2566