Dr. Kimberly Espinoza
Director, DECOD Program
DECOD Clinic Coordinator
Health Sciences Center B-323
School of Dentistry Billing Office
Dental Education in the Care of Persons with Disabilities
People with disabilities frequently have serious dental problems and have difficulty in accessing dental services.
Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities (DECOD) is a special program of the School of Dentistry that treats persons with severe disabilities and prepares dental professionals to meet their special oral health needs.
The DECOD Program provides more than 4,500 dental visits per year to persons with disabilities. It is a major resource for Washington citizens who have moderate to severe disabilities affecting their ability to receive dental care and cannot obtain dental services in other community settings.
DECOD serves primarily adults with developmental disabilities (including but not limited to cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and intellectual disability). The remaining patients have one of several designated acquired disabilities (e.g. spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke) requiring treatment supports not available in a traditional dental setting. The majority of patients receive Medical Assistance.
The DECOD Program includes several components:
- DECOD Clinic: UW School of Dentistry based clinic location: Health Sciences Building, Room B-323
- Outreach Programs: Geriatric dentistry programs for older adults living in nursing facilities
- Clinical Training: The DECOD Clinic serves as a clinical training site for dental students, dental residents, fellows, dental hygiene students, and dental assisting students.
- Didactic Training: The DECOD Program also provides lecture, video, and other educational materials to students and dental professionals in the area of special care dentistry
For persons with disabilities and medically compromised individuals regular dental care is vital to health and function. DECOD’s missions are to:
- Provide clinical dental services and essential diagnostic, emergency, and primary dental and oral health care to patients with developmental and acquired disabilities,
- To strengthen and expand patient care capacity across the state of Washington by training students in the delivery of care to those with disabilities and
- To enhance the quality of care provided to patients with special health care needs.
- Washington State Directory of Dentists for Patients with Special Needs
- Resources for Patients and Health Care Professionals