Treating the dental patient with a developmental disorder continues to be a big challenge in the twenty-first century. In this textbook, several topics are included to cover the range of problems that may arise while treating this group of patients. Most of the time the techniques described do not differ very much from treating the general population. However, when treating a patient with a developmental disorder, the dental practitioner needs to develop his or her skills to an extended level to deliver the appropriate services to the patient using the tools described in this textbook. Treating these patients in the general dental practice brings dentistry to a higher level. From an international perspective, treatment strategies are influenced by a variety of parameters.
In 2003, FDI (Fédération Dentaire Internationale), a global dental professional organization, published a policy statement supporting equal oral health care for special care patients. As a result, every dentist involved in this concept is supported by the general dental councilors from each individual country on the globe.
The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Special Smiles initiative points out the existing oral health problems in the special care population since 1997 and can be seen as a mission that steers health care policy makers around the globe.
IADH (International Association for Disability and Oral Health) also created a global platform to discuss oral health care for special care patients, both clinically and scientifically, pointing out the problems that still exist.
Dental schools can have a major influence in resolving some of these problems. Providing undergraduate students opportunities to treat this patient population can help create the change that is needed. When undergraduate students have very limited to no experience treating patients with developmental disorders, the result is most often a natural avoidance of/>