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Access to Care

For children with special health care needs, access to care may be limited.

In the United States, dental care is the most common unmet need in the special needs population.

According to the 1994-1995 National Health Interview Survey, children with special needs are twice as likely to not have their dental needs met.

Families encounter greater difficulty obtaining needed dental care for children with certain diagnoses, including Down syndrome, other forms of mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and autism.

Children with special health care needs may face the following barriers to accessing oral health care:

 
Transportation or physical access to the building
 
Financial strain, especially with multiple visits or expensive restorative work
 
Insurance coverage (see Referrals)
 

Difficulty finding a dentist who will see children with special   health care needs

If a child has numerous medical concerns, families may consider oral health a lower priority.

 
 
Dental care is the most common unmet need in the special needs population.
 
For children with special health care needs, there are many potential barriers to accessing dental care.
 
Transportation, financial burden, insurance concerns, and professional availability are only some of the barriers families have to overcome to receive dental care.
 
Pediatric health professionals should help families to prioritize and address their child's oral health.
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