Improving Access To Dental Care For All

male caregiver and an adult male who has special health care needs are sitting in a kitchen with a bowl of cereal

For the over 7 million people in the U.S. with intellectual or developmental disabilities, visiting the dentist for oral health care can be overwhelming or even inaccessible. We are working to change that by giving children and adults with special health care needs access to increased benefits.

Special Health Care Needs Dental Benefit

Our mission is to create a path to better health and wellness. And, that applies to everyone. We want every patient who goes to the dentist to feel comfortable, so we’ve added the Special Health Care Needs dental benefit to most of our dental plans. It covers additional dental visits and up to four dental cleanings per benefit year. Also, treatment delivery modifications and the use of anesthesia will be covered when necessary to provide dental care.

Training Opportunities For Network Dentists

Recognizing that improving access to dental care requires more than just coverage, we are also offering training opportunities for network and community health center dentists in Arizona.

Center for Persons with Disabilities Presentation Series: The University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with Delta Dental, is offering a FREE CE series to raise awareness of oral health barriers for individuals with disabilities. These online courses are open to all dentists and staff. Additionally, dentists completing 18 or more of the courses within a 3-year period will receive a certificate of completion from Penn Dental Medicine as a Disabilities Dentistry Clinician Expert.

New York University (NYU) Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities: This three-day intensive training will allow dental professionals who work chairside to:

  • Observe patient workflow and experience
  • Learn to utilize best accommodations in health risk assessment and treatment planning
  • Learn to work with caregivers to maintain oral health for patients
  • Learn physical ergonomics of treating patients
  • Learn best accommodations of physical space characteristics and needs

The cost of the program is $2,500 per attendee. It is offered in cohorts of up to six dental providers and training will be scheduled approximately one month after applications for the cohort are accepted.

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation Scholarships

Arizona’s community health dentists often face challenges when it comes to accessing dental training and continuing education. That’s why we’re stepping up to help.

The Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation is proud to announce the funding of 20 scholarships in 2024 to the NYU Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities three-day intensive. Each scholarship is specifically aimed at public health dental clinic providers, including DDS, DMD, and RDH professionals. But that’s not all! In collaboration with BHHS Legacy Foundation, Arizona Department of Health, and The Burton Family Foundation, travel stipends of up to $2,500 are also being provided.

Interested in learning more about our scholarship program and the application process? Feel free to reach out to Barb Kozuh, executive director of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, at

Final Thoughts

We believe in healthier lives for everyone. That’s why we are committing resources to improving dental care for people with special health care needs across Arizona. With the Special Health Care Needs dental benefit and training opportunities for network dentists, we’re making it easier for everyone to access the care they need.

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