According to the 2023 Delta Dental of Arizona Oral Health Survey, there is a significant increase in the number of individuals (77%) who believe that taking proactive steps to safeguard their oral health leads to a healthier lifestyle, but people – children and adults alike – with IDDs are often less likely to seek care to manage their oral health.
What is an IDD?
Short for intellectual or developmental disability, IDD includes several chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. IDD can begin at any time, up to one’s early 20s and often last a lifetime.
What are common IDDs?
Autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are all examples of common IDDs.
For those with an IDD, a visit to the dentist can be overwhelming, and dentists are not always provided with the training, tools or time to care for patients who require special accommodations. Thanks to Delta Dental of Arizona, that is changing. Effective April 1, 2024, most of their dental plans will give children and adults with special health care needs access to increased benefits. These benefits will include additional visits to the dentist’s office and/or consultations that can be helpful prior to the first treatment to help patients learn what to expect and what is needed for a successful dental appointment; extra dental cleanings; and necessary treatment delivery modifications. To ensure all network dentists and their staff are trained to meet the unique needs of their patients with special health care needs, Delta Dental and the University of Pennsylvania have partnered on free virtual training series for dental offices aimed at building awareness of the barriers to equitable oral health for individuals with disabilities and developing competency to provide oral health care to this vulnerable population.
More information on Delta Dental of Arizona’s dental benefits for people with special health care needs will be available in early 2024, so keep an eye on deltadeltalaz.com