(ALTON, Ill.) A $500,000 pledge from Delta Dental of Illinois will allow the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine to double the capacity of its Oral Surgery Clinic.
The pledge will be used to increase the number of oral surgery operating spaces from three to six and pay for a specially-equipped Oral Surgery Suite with conscious-sedation capability. The money will be distributed in $100,000 donations each year for five years.
"Through this generous gift, we will be able to significantly enhance the dental education we provide our students and increase the care we provide our patients," said School of Dental Medicine Dean Ann Boyle.
Dr. Boyle cited the overwhelming demand for oral surgery services as a critical reason to advance the expansion and renovation project. She noted that on any day of the week, more than 25 patients call the SIU dental school's main patient clinic, requesting oral surgery services, and more than 50 additional patients call each day requesting emergency dental care. These requests are in addition to routinely scheduled surgical services provided for patients at the dental school.
"Due to our present physical limitations and the increased demand for emergency care, we have been unable to manage the volume of patients needing treatment in the Oral Surgery Clinic," said Dr. Boyle.
"We are grateful to the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation for providing the resources necessary to allow us to better serve our oral surgery patients."
"In addition to dental emergencies, some surgical procedures are referred to our clinic by private practitioners because patients otherwise cannot afford care," Dr. Boyle said. "We are optimistic that the added capacity will allow us to schedule treatment before the condition of these patients creates considerable pain and results in a need to obtain emergency care."
Delta Dental of Illinois already has fulfilled an initial promise made in 2005 to award $250,000 to help the dental school expand its Main Clinic. The Main Clinic expansion included 24 new operatories and a new classroom. The gift from DDIL primarily served to equip the new facilities.
"The increasing demand for oral surgery services and emergency care clearly warrants the expansion of the SIU School of Dental Medicine Oral Surgery Clinic," said Dr. Robert E. Dennison, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Illinois. "Our grant will not only help the Oral Surgery Clinic to treat more patients, but also provide SIU dental students greater clinical education opportunities. We are proud to support SIU and its good work by doing what we can to advance this unique surgery clinic."
The gift and pledge were made through the DDIL Foundation. As a not-for-profit organization, Delta Dental of Illinois' mission includes improving the oral health of the communities we serve. For over 40 years, Delta Dental of Illinois has been helping to provide oral health education and to expand access to oral health care for the people of Illinois.
"Access to oral health care and oral health education help improve overall oral health. The SIU School of Dental Medicine does important work on both fronts. Supporting the expansion of the Oral Surgery Clinic is a wonderful opportunity for Delta Dental of Illinois to help improve access to oral health programs in Illinois and provide better education for SIU dental students," added Dr. Frank Maggio, D.D.S, a member of the Delta Dental of Illinois Board of Directors and a practicing periodontist in Elgin. "We're delighted to support the school."
Based in Lisle, DDIL offers an array of extensive network-based dental programs to more than 1.4 million enrollees nationwide.