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J Calif Dent Assoc. 2003 Feb;31(2):149-60.

Dental disease prevention and people with special needs.

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Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program, University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


People with special needs are the most underserved of the underserved in our society. They have more dental disease, more missing teeth, and more difficulty obtaining dental care than other segments of the population. Many individuals and groups, including the authors of this paper, have developed community-based systems to improve oral health for people with special needs. However, these systems have not been as successful as they might be because of lack of effective preventive protocols specifically designed for people with special needs. This paper reviews strategies for overcoming informational, physical, and behavioral barriers to oral health and presents a summary of the results of a conference titled "Practical Preventive Protocols for Prevention of Dental Disease in People with Special Needs in Community Settings." The rationale for using an Oral Health Care Plan is presented as well as a sample plan. These strategies and protocols are designed to complement the system of supported community-based oral health care. The goal of this system is to help people with special needs enjoy a lifetime of oral health the same as other members of our society.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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