Oral health delivery systems for older adults and people with disabilities

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Abstract

This article describes new oral health care system models designed to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population of older adults and people with disabilities. These populations are not currently able to access traditional dental offices and clinics to the same degree that younger and much healthier population groups do. So new models proactively target specific community organizations where these high-risk underserved population groups live, work, go to school, or obtain other health or social services. Collaborative on-site and clinic-based teams establish “Virtual Dental Homes” that provide ongoing, year-round access to oral health services designed to prevent mouth infections, deliver evidence-based preventive care, and restore infected individuals to stable and sustainable oral health. These new delivery models are beginning to demonstrate better health care delivery, better health outcomes, and the potential to drive down total health care costs for older adults and people with disabilities.

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