News Local/State

First-Time Grant Expands Dental Clinics For Kids In Champaign


A Champaign-based clinic for the low income is the first-ever recipient of a state grant to expand outreach in oral health.

The $100-thousand ‘Wisdom Tooth Award’ from Delta Dental is going to Promise Healthcare, the parent group of Frances Nelson Health Center.

As a result, Promise Executive Director Nancy Greenwalt says nearly 1,000 more children in Champaign County will be served each year through its ‘Smile Healthy’ clinic and mobile program.

She said many parents wait too long to provide dental care to their kids.

"We support dentists by (age) 1," she said.  "This money will be used to educate more about that so that children and parents can see the dentist when the first tooth erupts, so that they can learn about how to take care of their teeth.  In Champaign County, a third of the kids we see, little 4 and 5-year olds, get cavities, and sometimes even teeth that need to be extracted."

Naperville-based Delta Dental is awarding the grant next month. Greenwalt said the clinic will spend some time recruiting more staff to handle the additional demand.

The Frances Nelson facility and mobile program currently serve about 3,100 children.