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Chapter 7: Special Needs

Introduction
Approximately 18% of US children and youth have a special health care need. Many of these conditions, including mental retardation, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, craniofacial abnormalities, and seizure disorders, can impact a child’s oral health.

By understanding the potential barriers to oral health care and the consequences of poor oral health in children with special health care needs, health professionals can identify at-risk patients early, provide anticipatory guidance, refer to appropriate dental professionals, and assist patients and families in overcoming barriers to accessing and utilizing care.

Sections

1.
Access to Care
2.
Caries Risk
3.
Other Concerns
 
Tooth Eruption
 
Malocclusion and Crowded Teeth
 
Dental Anomalies
 
Gingival Hyperplasia
 
Trauma
 
Bruxism
4.
Preventive Oral Health Practices
 
Dental Office
 
Pediatric Office Screening
5.
Examination Checklist
6.
Referrals
7.
Key Points
8.
Self-Assessment Questions
 
Upon chapter completion, participants will be able to:
 
1.
Recall that dental care is the most common unmet need among the special needs population.
 
2.
List barriers to accessing dental care.
 
3.
State reasons why children with special health care needs are at increased risk for caries.
 
4.
Complete the oral health examination checklist at all routine visits.
 
5.
Assist families in addressing oral hygiene concerns and suggest techniques for optimizing oral care in children with special needs.
 
6.
Discuss appropriate timing of referral to a pediatric dentist and list conditions that mandate early referral.
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