Oral Health Access Issues for Children with Special Health Care Needs

  • Nancy J. MurrayEmail author
  • Mary Anderson Hartley


Maintaining good oral health is crucial for all children; all require consistent age-appropriate daily care. Most children with special health care needs have the same dental routines and can see the same dentists as their typical peers. Untreated dental conditions in children with special health care needs and particularly those with disabilities and significant health conditions can result in very serious behavioral and medical results. Due to higher medication usage, the physical characteristics associated with many disabilities, and the comorbidities that contribute to compromised health status, these children have an increased need for consistent and high quality dental care. This population suffers from reduced capabilities for daily hygiene, reduced number of professionals accepting them or their insurance, and less didactic and clinical training for dental professionals to make them more comfortable and competent with treating individuals with disabilities. Many advocates are working diligently on multiple strategies to solve the access issue for those children with special health care needs who are most at risk.


Oral Health Down Syndrome Intellectual Disability Developmental Disability Pediatric Dentist 
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American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry


American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry


Affordable Care Act


American Dental Association


Americans with Disabilities Act


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


CDC Child Health Disparities and Inequalities Report


Children’s Health Insurance Program


United States Center for Medicaid Services


Commission on Dental Accreditation


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease/Disorder


Children with Special Health Care Needs


Doctor of Dental Sciences


Dental Health Professions Shortage Areas


Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment


United States Government Accountability Office


United States Department of Health and Human Services


United States Health Resources Services Administration




Medical Doctor


Master of Public Health academic degree


Medically Underserved Population


National Association of Dental Plans


National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research


New York State Office on Persons with Developmental Disabilities


Special Care Dentistry Association


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ACHIEVAPittsburghUSA

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