Families with special health care needs have identified oral health as the most common unmet health care need. While pediatric dentists are trained to provide special services to special needs patients, the supply of pediatric dental specialists is limited and the metropolitan locations of many of these specialty dental practices may limit access to their services. Therefore, it is important to understand if general dentists, particularly those in smaller population areas, are providing services for special needs patients.
This research project is a collaboration with the Health Policy Institute at the American Dental Association (ADA) to examine the contributions of general and specialty dentists, especially pediatric dentists, to oral health care for people with special health care needs. Researchers will focus on variations in the provision of oral health services by specialty, source of training, and geography.