Capitol Correspondence - 11.27.17

National Council on Disability Releases Dental I/DD Report

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On November 21, the National Council on Disability (NCD), a nonpartisan, independent federal agency released its issue brief, “Neglected for too Long: Dental Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”

NCD’s issue brief provides insight concerning the lack of dental care many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) continue to experience due to a shortage of properly trained dental care providers. The brief also explores the glaring neglect for the protection of people with disabilities found within the American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics & Code of Professional Conduct, generally.

“For too long, many individuals with I/DD have faced significant challenges in finding dental care providers able or willing to treat them, leaving those patients to have to drive several hours away to find a capable clinic or forgo care altogether,” said Clyde Terry, NCD Chairperson. “The effect proper dental care has on preventing larger health concerns and costs cannot be underestimated.”

Quick Report Takes:

  • According to a series of studies, 75% of dental students reported little to no preparation in providing care to people with I/DD.
  • Approximately 60 percent of people in the United States with I/DD rely on Medicaid for their health insurance coverage and Medicaid’s low reimbursement rates often dissuade providers from taking on patients with I/DD who may require more time to treat.
  • The American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct does not prohibit a practitioner from refusing to accept a patient based on his or her disability,* but does prohibit other forms of discrimination.

Policy Brief: The NCD Policy Brief on dental care for patients with I/DD is available for download at: