Better Oral Health for People with Disabilities
Right now, oral health care is often inaccessible for many people with disabilities. Families may face years-long wait times and lengthy drives for a dental appointment—all while outstanding oral health issues escalate and overall health declines.
The Delta Dental Foundation is committed to radically shifting that paradigm through policy change, provider training, stigma reduction and education. You can learn more about some of the programs and resources we fund to support oral health equity for people with disabilities below.
Inclusive Health Training
We develop and funds programs to provide inclusive health training to dental professionals that help increase access to quality care. These include:
- Helping fund disabilities dental clinics to help train the next generation of dental professionals at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, The Ohio State University School of Dentistry and the Indiana University School of Dentistry.
- A free, online and on-demand continuing education program through Penn Dental Medicine, which offers a certificate of completion as a Disabilities Dentistry Clinician Expert.
- The development of an interdisciplinary curriculum by the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry for medical and dental students designed to provide education on the dental and medical disparities faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- The Centers for Inclusive Dentistry program, which provides the training and resources necessary to deliver high-quality dental treatment to people with disabilities at Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Caregiver Education and Resources
We fund and develop tools and resources to better support parents, caregivers and the people who rely on them. These include:
- The All Smiles Shine app, designed to help the autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities communities prepare for oral health success.
- Access for All Smiles, a dental health resource (with a full guide and videos) for caregivers of adults with disabilities.
- Directories to help caregivers find dental care in Michigan and Indiana. Caregivers can also call Federally Qualified Health Centers that have received training as Centers for Inclusive Dentistry:
- Alcona Health Center (Michigan)
- Care Alliance (Ohio)
- Catherine's Health Center (Michigan)
- Center for Family Health (Michigan)
- Central City Integrated Health (Michigan)
- Five Rivers Health Centers (Ohio)
- Neighborhood Health (Indiana)
- The Wellness Plan (Michigan)
- Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (Michigan)
- A Caregiver's Guide to Oral Health for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Awareness and Advocacy
We support projects designed to boost representation of people with disabilities and increase awareness of the oral health challenges they face. These include:
- All Smiles Shine, a national campaign in association with Project Accessible Oral Health, Henry Schein and Colgate to increase awareness of the barriers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face.
- A photoshoot and exhibition in association with Positive Exposure to raise awareness about the oral health disparities faced by people with disabilities and promote inclusion in dental care settings.
- A multiyear partnership with MSDA to explore a Medicaid carve-out to protect dental benefits for people with disabilities.