Oral Health for Families with Special Health Care Needs
What does it mean to have special health care needs?
Children with special health care needs are those children who have or are at risk for chronic physical,
developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or
amount beyond that required by children generally.
The Impact of Oral Health and the Individual with Special Health Care Needs
Common oral health problems can affect all individuals. However, these problems can present particular challenges to
individuals with special health care needs. Certain conditions may make it more difficult to keep the oral cavity
clean and healthy. Tooth decay is the number one unmet need of children with special health care needs.
Families should be supported in taking an active role in establishing and maintaining good oral health for their
child. Below are some suggested resources:
- Oral Health for Families with Special Health Care Needs
This resource guide was developed by the DHEC'S Division of Oral Health and MUSC College of Dental Medicne
through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The booklet is designed to give parents and caregivers
tips on keeping their child's or teen's mouth healthy taking into account the challenges that exist for those
with special needs. In addition to parents, the booklet would also be a good resource for schools, homeschool
associations, parent and community outreach programs as well dental and medical offices. A Spanish version of
the guide is also available.
- An Oral Health Professional's Guide to
Serving Young Children with Special Health Care Needs
A series of five self-contained online modules is designed to provide oral health professionals with information
to help ensure that young children with special health care needs have access to health promotion and disease
prevention services that address their unique oral health needs in a comprehensive, family-centered, and
community-based manner. This curriculum was developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts with funding from
the Maternal and Child Health
Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration.
- Children with
Special Health Care Needs: An Introduction to Practical Oral Care for People with Developmental Disabilities
A National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Institute series of publications, Practical Oral Care for
People with Developmental Disabilities, equips dental professionals in the community with the basic
information they need to deliver quality oral health care to people with special needs.
- Planning Guide for Dental Professionals
Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs (pdf)
Developed by the University of Southern California University Affiliated Program, Children's Hospital Los
Angeles, this manual promotes a framework within which oral health professionals can communicate and work with
families to ensure that appropriate, quality oral health care is provided both at home and in the dental office.
Carlos Salinas Award
The South Carolina Dental Association (SCDA) and the South Carolina Oral Health Coalition (SCOHACC) have established
an award to honor a dentist for excellence in providing care to and advocacy for individuals with special health
care needs. This award which began in 2007 is co-sponsored by Specialized Care Company, and nominations are accepted
through the Division of Oral Health beginning in March of each year. The recipient is recognized at Dr. Salinas'
seminar in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston and at the annual SCOHACC
Oral Health Forum. The recipient also receives an engraved award from the SCDA and SCOHACC; and their name is placed
on a perpetual plaque displayed at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine.
- The nominee must be a dentist licensed to practice dentistry in the State of South Carolina.
- Nominations can be submitted by anyone in the community other than the provider receiving the nomination.
(Author must include name and contact information).
- A formal letter written by the person submitting the nomination; stating why the nominee should be selected.
- The letter should cite at least three specific examples that demonstrate how the nominee has provided
exceptional care for patients with special needs.
- Deadline for nomination letter receipt (or postmark) is the last Friday of June. Electronic
submissions are preferred.
2008 Dr. Kenneth Lowry
2009 Dr. Richard Cross
2010 Dr. Richard Bryant
2011 Dr. John Sowell
2012 Dr. Mary Bradley Tepper
For more information, please contact:
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Division of Oral Health
Mills-Jarrett Complex-Box 101106
Columbia, SC 29211