Special Needs

This website provides information for health care professionals, parents and caregivers to assist them in managing the oral health of children and adults with special needs and disabilities.

  • Nationally: 78% of children with special health care needs were reported to need dental treatment and/or an examination in the prior 12 months; a need second only to the need for prescription medicine [1]
  • Many individuals with special health care needs, chronic conditions and disabilities do not have access to regular and ongoing dental care.
  • Dental disease prevention, keeping teeth and gums healthy, is a team effort of the person, dental and medical professionals, and parents/caregivers. Care of teeth and gums at home, good nutrition and other strategies are important; tips are included in the parent/caregiver fact sheets.
  • Stay tuned for the Washington State Department of Health – Oral Health Program monograph with detailed information.

1. Lewis, C., Robertson, A.S., Phelps, S. Unmet Dental Care Needs Among Children With Special Health Care Needs: Implications for the Medical Home. Pediatrics 2005 116; e426-e431.

Fact Sheets