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Spec Care Dentist. 2008 Mar-Apr;28(2):43-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.2008.00010.x.

Interdisciplinary approach to oral health for persons with developmental disabilities.

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School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The aim of this interdisciplinary study was to survey the oral health among persons with developmental disabilities (PDD), and to evaluate the impact of the routine referral process at a regional center in Los Angeles, California. This study evaluated the subjects' oral health, access to care, oral health behaviors, and adherence to referrals. The study recruited 102 subjects (74% were African American or Hispanic). Among them, 24% reported brushing their teeth less than once a day, and 68% had dental insurance. The prevalence of leukoplakia was 4% and the prevalence of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) clicking and pain were 11% and 9%, respectively. Their decayed, missing, filled (DMF) equaled 14 points with 7 missing teeth. The subjects' DMF index was poorer compared to the general population. The routine referral process was not effective in improving the subjects' access to dental care. More sophisticated referral systems need to be developed for this population.

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