UMass nets grants for oral health of intellectually disabled

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School will use two grants for research and training dental professionals and students to improve dental visits for people with intellectual disabilities.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities are more likely to have untreated caries, but finding dentists who are willing to provide them with dental care can be difficult. UMass Medical School's Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center will use a two-year grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop online courses related to oral care for the intellectually disabled, according to a press release.

In addition, a three-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities will fund a project to determine the most effective interventions to improve oral health for the intellectually disabled.

Patients with intellectual disabilities often have significant anxiety, limited communication skills, and low tolerance for dental procedures. One of the online courses will focus on treating patients with autism spectrum disorders, who have unique challenges with sensory stimuli in the dental environment.

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