Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-

Special care dentistry in India

Balaji Manohar 
 Department of Periodontology, Kalinga Institute of Dental Sciences, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India; Editor in Chief, Journal of Federation of Special Care Dentistry

Correspondence Address:
Balaji Manohar
Department of Periodontology, Kalinga Institute of Dental Sciences, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India; Editor in Chief, Journal of Federation of Special Care Dentistry

How to cite this article:
Manohar B. Special care dentistry in India.Saint Int Dent J 2021;5:3-3

How to cite this URL:
Manohar B. Special care dentistry in India. Saint Int Dent J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 28 ];5:3-3
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Full Text

Physical and mental disability is not uncommon. Fiske in 2006 mentioned that disability would be seen in one out of four lives. Individuals with a disability should have the same access to oral health care as any other average individual. With the increase in life expectancy and an increase in the likelihood of the elderly population contracting chronic diseases, the rate of disability is on the rise the world over.[1]

The World Health Organization has estimated 12% of the population to have a disability in developing countries.[2] 26.8 million Indians, which is 2.2% of the people in India, are having some form of disability.[3]

Orodental care for individuals with disabilities is the need of the hour. With the ever-increasing population in our country, the health-care sector is always overburdened. Moreover, health care for individuals with disabilities and special needs calls for knowledge and training in the field. Innumerable studies, time and again, have opened our eyes to the problems and difficulties in providing orodental care for individuals with disabilities and special needs.[4]

Special care dentistry is aimed at preventive as well as treatment of orodental problems for individuals who are not able to accept the regular orodental care provided to a normal individual due to their physical, medical, intellectual, emotional, sensory, mental, or social impairment or else may be due to a combination of any of these factors.[5]

Dental services unavailable to disabled individuals are mainly because of the lack of knowledge and clinical experience in treating such individuals, as well as the reluctance by the health-care provider in treating them. Educating professionals in special care dentistry can be improved by developing an academic and clinical discipline with proper international guidelines.[6]

Various countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand offer undergraduate and postgraduate programs in special care dentistry in their universities to overcome the problem of oral health care for individuals with special needs in their countries.[6] However, the scenario in India is in a preconceived stage. There are some lectures included related to special care patients, but there is absolutely no clinical exposure at undergraduate and a very limited one at the postgraduate level.

Although the Indian students realize the need for special care dentistry at the undergraduate level and a separate postgraduate program has been recommended, nothing concrete has materialized for the dental needs of special care patients who are at the receiving end and are only taken care of by a very few interested ones.


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3Hennequin M, Faulks D, Roux D. Accuracy of estimation of dental treatment need in special care patients. J Dent 2000;28:131-6.
4Satish M, Iyer K, Lakshmi K, Neha S, Biju EA, Diwakar MK. Awareness and approaches in treating patients with special needs among dental practitioners of Chennai City: A pilot study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2019;17:333-6.
5Nic Iomhair A, John M. Facilitating patient-centred care for special care dentistry patients: A quality improvement project in the community dental service. BDJ Open 2020;6:11.
6Priyanka SR, Arvind M. Role of oral physicians in special care dentistry. Indian J Public Health Res Dev 2020;11:501-5.