ERIC Number: EJ837236
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Adults with Disabilities and Proper Dental Care
Waldman, H. Barry; Perlman, Steven P.; Cinotti, Debra A.
Exceptional Parent, v39 n4 p58-60 Apr 2009
Repeated studies of graduating dental students indicate limited preparation to provide services for individuals with special healthcare needs. By the end of the 1990s and into the present decade, more than half of the U.S. dental schools provided less than five hours of class room presentations and about three quarters of the schools provided 0-5 percent of treatment time for patients with special needs. In a recent study, half of the students reported no clinical training in the care of patients with special needs and 75 percent reported little to no preparation for care of these patients. Similar results were reported for the education of dental hygienist students. Recent questioning of pediatric program directors and members of the specialty Board of Pediatric Dentistry indicated that there is no available information regarding the number of pediatric dentists who provide dental care to adults with special needs. Although the Medicare program supports services for adults with permanent disabilities, the coverage for dental costs is extremely limited. In the past the dental profession has moved to develop solutions to the delivery of services as a result of community pressure. For example: (1) the passage of legislation in the State of Oregon to legalize denturists (laboratory technicians who could fabricate and provide dentures to patients without the supervision of a dentist) promoted practitioner interest to provide prosthetic services for older patients; and (2) the present American Dental Association concerns regarding efforts to provide dental services by dental therapists (non-dentists with two years of training), due to the unavailability of dentists in the nonmetropolitan areas of Alaska.
Descriptors: Dental Schools, Disabilities, Dentistry, Health Services, Adults, Patients, Clinical Experience, Pediatrics, State Legislation, Allied Health Personnel
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Oregon