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Wed October 26, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-Dentists from throughout DuPage County met on Oct. 26 in Addison to discuss the latest trends in dentistry as well as learn about opportunities to help low-income residents by participating in the Dental Care Connections Program.

Dental Care Connections is a program coordinated by the DuPage County Health Department. It is a referral program that connects low-income people in need of dental care to local providers.

Dr. James Weeks, a Naperville dentist and member of the DuPage County Board of Health, asked dentists to consider participating in Dental Care Connections. "This is a great opportunity for dentists to help DuPage County residents who need oral health care, but don't have access to services." Weeks added, "Dentists are very generous with their time and we hope more are able to join Dental Care Connections and give back to the community."

Maureen McHugh, Executive Director at the Health Department, said, "We are so pleased that dentists and hygienists took time today to join in this important discussion about oral health in DuPage County."

She added, "The low-income population in DuPage County is growing and so is the demand for dental services. We have recently expanded our Urgent Care Dental Clinic at the Health Department to serve more residents in need of dental care. We hope that some of the dental professionals attending today's conference will help us meet this increasing need."

Weeks outlined during Wednesday's conference the Health Department's new Dental Advisory Board, which he serves as chairman. The advisory board was launched this year with goals of expanding dental care service delivery to people in need, increasing participation of community providers and exploring additional funding sources.

The Health Department serves low-income residents in numerous ways, including its Smile Squad mobile clinic which travels to schools and community centers providing dental care to children in need. DuPage County also offers the DuPage Dental Discount Program to any resident or family who may enroll for a low fee and receive discount dental services at participating providers.  

The half-day conference was sponsored by the Health Department and Midwestern University's College of Dental Medicine in Downers Grove. Midwestern Dean Lex MacNeil offered welcoming remarks and college faculty member Dr. Gary Drahos led dentists and hygienists in a discussion of trends in dentistry.

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