Residents Get Training in Special Needs Dentistry

Dentistry Today


The Pacific Dental Services (PDS) Foundation Dentists for Special Needs clinic is hosting a program for pediatric residents from New York University Langone Dental Medicine this fall. It will provide four second-year residents and four first-year residents with one-on-one training focused on providing comprehensive oral healthcare to patients with special needs. Also, it will provide the pediatric residents with training in special needs advocacy and guidance.

“The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs is leading the charge in making oral healthcare accessible to patients with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Kyle Guerin, director, PDS Foundation and corporate social responsibility. “One of the biggest unmet needs for patients with special needs is oral healthcare, which is why this residency program is so crucial. We’re truly grateful to work with NYU Langone Dental Medicine on this program.”

The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs clinic is designed to provide high-quality oral healthcare for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. It offers patients with special needs sensory-integrated operatories and state-of-the-art technology, PDS said, as well as specially trained dentists equipped with behavioral and environmental techniques to ensure successful patient visits. Also, the not-for-profit clinic educates patients and their caregivers to help them with their oral health in between visits.

According to the PDS Foundation, it has been leading the charge to make dentistry more accessible to people with special needs through training and advocacy. Its leadership understands that caring for patients with special needs takes compassion as well as special training, PDS said.

Nationwide, 52 million people have special needs, PDS said, but less than 10% of dentists treat patients with disabilities because of their lack of training and the patients’ negative reactions to common dental procedures. That’s why access to specialized care such as dentistry is among the main healthcare concerns for people with special needs, PDS said.

“This program will allow our pediatric residents to prepare for a future in dentistry that is overlooked in healthcare,” said Shreekrishna Akilesh, DMD, MPH, senior associate director, NYU Langone Dental Medicine.

“It’s important to provide a patients-first approach to dentistry, especially with pediatric patients who require more guidance and care. The residents participating in this program will walk away with both a clinical and a compassionate understanding on how to treat patients with special needs, opening up many doors to better care for everyone,” Akilesh said.

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