Oral health for people with special needs: consensus statement on implications and recommendations for the dental profession
In November 2004, the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, with support from the California Dental Association Foundation, hosted a conference to explore the issue of oral health for people with special needs. This conference was held in conjunction with the joint meetings of Pacific's Statewide Task Force on Oral Health for People With Special Needs and Pacific's Statewide Task Force on Oral Health and Aging. These groups of interested stakeholders meet several times a year to discuss the increasing problems faced by people with disabilities, elderly individuals, and other special populations in obtaining access to oral health services and maintaining good oral health. The purpose of this conference was to explore the changing population of people with special needs, analyze the implications for the dental profession and society, and describe systems and strategies that might lead to improved oral health for these populations. This conference also served as a forum for developing oral health recommendations as a part of the California Commission on Aging's Strategic Plan for an Aging Population. Seven nationally recognized speakers presented draft papers on various aspects of this topic. These presentations are published as the additional papers in this and the next issue of the Journal. There was time for audience reaction and discussion with the speakers. The speakers and a designated group of reactors then developed this consensus statement and recommendations for addressing these issues.