Children with Special Healthcare 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:


Additional Information:

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.

Requirements :

  • 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.

Past Recipients:
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
(803) 898-0194



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