Downstate Illinois clinics help fill dental needs

In one downstate Illinois county, dentists are helping fill the needs of low income residents through dental clinics.

Recognizing that not all lower-income residents in McLean County can get by with private insurance or Medicaid coverage, a dentist rushed in to fill the gap.

The Bloomington Pantagraph notes the efforts of Dr. Jack Capodice Jr., oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Bloomington.

Since 1997, Capodice and his partners have hosted pain relief/tooth extraction clinics for McLean County adults who are low income and have no health insurance. Services are free because the oral surgeons, their staff and partnering local dentists donate their time, equipment and supplies.

The clinics began as a monthly effort and were meant to be temporary until the health department started its dental program. Even when the health department launched dental services, the need remained, so the clinic continues twice a year.

Last year, the dental clinics served 538 adults and 5,093 children and another 2,527 children were served through another school-based program.

The good-news story underscores the tremendous need in communities for quality dental care for lower-income adults and children. State reimbursement to dentists for people on Medicaid is low and not timely so many decline to see such patients.

Many forego treatment until an emergency, where they often end up in an emergency room.

”Every dentist I know gives away care," clarified Capodice. "When we all signed up for this, we agreed to help people."

We are thankful for dentists like Capodice. They are a blessing to those in need.