Community-Based System Fact Sheet

The Pacific Center for Special Care developed the Community-Based System of Oral Health Care to address the dental access issues affecting Californians with developmental disabilities. More than 5,000 individuals with special needs benefited from this program linking people and their caregivers to dental resources within their communities. The development and implementation of the Community-Based System of Oral Health Care was made possible by grant funding provided by the California Endowment.

Results for Participants in the Community-Based System:
  • 44% improvement in people with defective or decayed fillings or crowns
  • 38% improvement in those individuals needing extractions or restorations
  • 25% improvement in people who could have their next dental visit without sedation or restraint
  • 21% improvement in individuals with gum disease

The Pacific Center for Special Care worked collaboratively with the Statewide Task Force on Oral Health and the following state-contracted regional centers to develop and implement this system. Some of the center's accomplishments include:

  • Implemented dental coordinators (often hygienists and dental assistants) as a new resource at eight state-contracted regional centers — from Riverside to Sacramento — to better serve people with special needs
  • Trained more than 8,000 caregivers, parents, social workers and health professionals
  • Offered continuing education programs to 700 dental professionals, who learned how to work with and care for people with special needs
  • Developed resources (dentists, hygienists, hospitals and clinics) in various communities throughout California
  • Decreased caries and gum disease, making the need for painful and costly procedures less likely
  • Provided assessment, triage, referral and tracking of the individuals served
  • Strongly promotes preventive services through training of families, caregivers, social workers, dental and other health professionals and the individuals themselves
  • Created Adopt-A-Home™ program where dental professionals adopt a community home to provide preventive care and training to the staff and residents
  • Dramatically increased awareness of the importance of oral health issues. Seven of eight participating agencies committed to continuing the program with their own funding
Future goals
  • Expand the adoption of the community model to additional regions of the state
  • Expand the use of prevention protocols in community health
  • Adapting the community model to other social service systems (i.e. geriatric association)
  • Incorporate oral health into the Early Start Program for people with developmental disabilities
  • Continue to expand awareness of the importance of oral health for general health and well-being for people with special needs