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Pediatr Dent. 2007 Mar-Apr;29(2):98-104.

Improving oral health for individuals with special health care needs.

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  • 1Section of Pediatric Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


The purpose of this paper was to highlight information and issues raised in a keynote address for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Symposium on Lifetime Oral Health Care for Patients with Special Needs held in November, 2006. Topics include: (1) relevant statistics and definitions; (2) the prevalence and impact of common oral diseases in individuals with special health care needs (ISHCN); (3) an overview of oral health care delivery for ISHCN; (4) key delivery system and policy issues; and (5) a synopsis of major contextual initiatives related to ISHCN. In light of the Academy's primary interest in infants, children, and adolescents--including children with special health care needs--the major focus is on children. Significant oral health and oral health care issues for adults with special needs, however, generally parallel those for children and are of interest to the Academy, particularly as they relate to the transition from pediatric care to adult care, a critical period for extending the level of oral health and health trajectory established during childhood.

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