Our Work

Our Critical Work

The number one health need

for people with disabilities is adequate dental care

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6.5 million people

with intellectual and developmental disabilities are not able to access the dental care they need.

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Children with disabilities are

30% more likely

to have their first dental visit delayed.

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75% of dental students

report little to no preparation in providing care to patients with disabilities.

Everybody deserves the ability to smile, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your ability or disability.  Smiles need to be healthy. Poor oral health can lead to other health problems.  PAOH and the All Smiles Shine campaign are about equal access to culturally competent oral healthcare. Join PAOH in becoming a collective catalyst for change 


Denise Vargas

Linda Allen

Courtney Curry

Denise Vargas

If it was more affordable and more accessible, I and many others in the disability community would definitely go to the dentist more often. We often tend to take a lot of medication that builds up plaque and can cause other issues, so of course it would be great to be able to see the dentist on a regular basis to ensure all these things are taken care of. I hope Project Accessible Oral Health can draw attention to what can be done to help make this a reality. “I have not been to a dentist in about 12 years. If it was more affordable and more accessible, I and many others in the disability community would definitely go to the dentist more often.”

Linda Allen

Thank goodness we found Stony Brook for dental care and other services. Christopher’s dentist is wonderful. She tells him exactly how it is, and brings the subject to his level. She’s very friendly and shows him all the pictures of what we’re going to do. It made it so much easier for him and me to understand. They’re so patient with him and take their time. For example, in order to proceed with the braces, he needed to have eight teeth pulled. So to find an oral surgeon that would pull eight teeth at once, under general anesthesia was an issue. Today, between my dental insurance, his Medicaid, and Stony Brook we now have fabulous regular oral care for Christopher.“There definitely needs to be more awareness of the importance of dental care, even prior to school age, so parents get the full picture of health. “

Courtney Curry

It’s rare to find a dentist that actually is able to handle people with disabilities and has the right equipment for people with disabilities. It is a challenge to locate them, even on the Internet where you can find basically anything! You have to try to find one that is supposedly accessible, and then be prepared when you call to ask, ‘Are your doorways wide enough? Do you have a ramp to get into your office? Is your work done inside of a wheelchair?’ that the answer may be ‘No.’ These things that would make treatment so much more comfortable are very difficult to find.“If there were more dentists with experience in meeting the needs of the disabilities community, and if dental care was more affordable, then many more of us would actually be able to have dental work done. And if we were to find the right dentist, we would definitely spread the word amongst our friends and networks, so we could all benefit.