Professional education to meet the oral health needs of older adults and persons with disabilities

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A well-prepared dental workforce is critical to improving the oral health of special needs patients. This paper, originally presented at the National Coalition Consensus Conference: Oral Health of Vulnerable Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities, reviews and suggests opportunities to enhance the professional education of the dental workforce, including enhanced faculty training in gerontology, geriatrics and special patient care, and opportunities for improved curricula and team training both within the dental team and among the diverse group of health professional that often collaborate in the care of special needs patients. Other considerations include the creation of a specialty of Special Care Dentistry, and the effective use of dental team members in the care of special needs patients.

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