Special Needs Dentistry Series

Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) is dedicated to delivering excellent healthcare service to diverse communities with integrity, compassion, and empathy. TCDM recognizes the responsibility to educate on disparities in access to comprehensive care faced by the special needs population. To that end, TCDM has partnered with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (NYS OPWDD) Task Force on Special Care Dentistry to offer a series of continuing education programs for dental professionals and staff members, affording them an opportunity to learn from experts, specialists and advocates in the field of special needs care dentistry.

Below is a list of the courses we offered and recorded. You can watch all of them on the Special Care Dentistry Continuing Education Series YouTube Playlist.

New programs are offered bi-monthly in a live webinar format. To receive information about upcoming programs, please sign up for our continuing education mailing list.

Previous Special Needs Dentistry CE Courses

Shortening the Line for Sedation and General Anesthesia for People with Disabilities

Presented by: Paul Glassman, DDS, MA, MBA
Associate Dean for Research & Community Engagement, College of Dental Medicine, California Northstate University

For some people, the safest and most effective way to receive dental services is through the use of sedation or GA. However, there are many people who could have dental services performed and maintain good oral health if alternatives to the use of sedation and GA were readily available. This program describes the “Shorten-the-Line” Program under development in California and its potential application in New York. (January 26, 2022)

Developmental Dentistry: Giving Back, Getting More

Presented by: Allen Wong, DDS, EdD, DABSCD

People with developmental and intellectual disabilities (IDD) experience disparities in health care, including dentistry.  This program elucidates factors in health inequity as well as outline preventive practices that can improve oral health for individuals with IDD in your own practice.  Moreover, the program discusses essential ingredients for health equity, namely education and advocacy, and the development of a forum for healthcare professionals providing care to people with IDD, the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. (May 18, 2022)

A Day in the Life

Presented by: Barbara Vartanian
Director, Oral Health Advocacy & Policy Initiatives, NYU College of Dentistry

Upon my son receiving the diagnosis of Autism, our lives would never be the same. Days were filled with therapy and nights were filled with research and tears. The path I had planned for and dreamt about was now one filled with fear, uncertainty and tireless advocating. This program provides a unique perspective from a parent advocating to end the disparities the disability community faces while explaining key terminology used to describe the challenges and obstacles faced by the disability community. (July 13, 2022)

Transforming Lives: Treating Patients with Alzheimer's & Autism

Presented by: Karen A. Raposa
Regional Manager, Academic Team, Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Company

Understanding patients with Alzheimer’s and Autism can transform the careers of dental professionals. The rates of diagnosis of these conditions continue to increase, so the likelihood that these patients will seek dental care in a private practice is greater than ever.

This course reviews the science and definitions of these medical conditions while exploring techniques to guide dental professionals and patients through a successful dental appointment.  Patient assessment, behavior guidance and treatment techniques are discussed which include implementable technologies. Examples of homecare regimens for caretakers, as well as specific guidelines for practitioners will help you incorporate these patients into your practice, enhancing your clinical abilities while enriching your career. (September 14, 2022)

Dental Care: Understanding & Meeting the Needs of All Children & Adults

Presented by: Jeff Lichtman, PhD
Director, Student Mental Health Services at Touro University

Between 15–20% of the U.S. population has some form of disability. Whether cognitive, emotional, or physical, these numbers are steadily growing. This workshop will identify some of the most common kinds of disabilities; and will share ways of thinking about the individual (both child & adult) with a disability and their family members. We will share strategies to enable effective work and care for patients with such disabilities. (March 15, 2023)

Ethical-Legal Considerations When Treating the Patient with Special Needs

Presented by: Gary Sastow, JD
Partner, Danziger & Markhoff, LLP

This program will discuss legal and ethical considerations for the clinician working with a patient with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), particularly pertaining to health decision-making and consent. In light of the recently passed Supported Decision-Making Agreement (SDMA) law in New York State, clinicians should understand the implications of this legislation and how it differs from guardianship. (May 17, 2023)

The program will address these questions and more, including a review of who is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will define capacity and competence, discuss ethical considerations and provide recommended best practices for health decision-making and medical-legal documentation.

Understanding Dementia to Address the Increased Needs of Aging Patients

Presented by: Jed A Levine, MA
President Emeritus, CaringKind, the Heart of Alzheimer's Caregiving

According to the CDC, "the U.S. burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) will double by 2060. The increases are a result of fewer people dying from other chronic diseases and surviving into older adulthood when the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias increases." How can dental professionals respond to the growing needs of their aging patient population? Understanding dementia is the first step.

This program discusses Alzheimer’s disease and the most common causes of dementia. We will review the progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to advanced dementia. The most up-to-date information about treatment, including those under consideration by the FDA are presented, along with information on reducing the chances of developing dementia. What are the risk factors for cognitive impairment? Are those modifiable? We explore the impact on caregivers and provide resources for care and support. (July 19, 2023)

Dentistry Under General Anesthesia for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Presented by: Marc W. Michalowicz, DDS, MSc  & Evan Spivack, DDS

Sedation is safe in the properly trained hands, with proper case selection, and an appropriate venue for the patient based on their medical status. While sedation is safe under the proper conditions, it should be the last option considered in a wide range of behavior guidance options dentists have at their disposal. It is especially important to avoid defaulting to sedation/anesthesia as a first option upon recognizing a special need. However, despite best efforts, sedation may be the most appropriate management option for some patients with special needs. An understanding of patient selection and evaluation for general anesthesia candidacy is essential to patient care and guidance. This course reviews the inherent risks of general anesthesia in addition to considerations for medically compromised individuals. How do we know when sedation for dental care is necessary and appropriate? Factors that may indicate the need for dental treatment under sedation are discussed, as well as an overview of the spectrum of sedation options. Finally, selection criteria for general anesthesia is reviewed to provide an understanding of the procedure for evaluation for this management option. (September 13, 2023)

The Dentist’s Bucket List: Patients You Need to Treat Before You Hang Up Your Handpiece

Presented by: Rick Rader, MD, FAAIDD, FAADM, DHL (hon)
Director of the Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center

Most dentists spend their entire career without ever having the challenge, the experience, and the privilege of treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Rader presents a portfolio of insights and recommendations to address this deficit. The foundation is an introduction to the societal isolation, stigmatization, and brutality this population faces. Popular myths about them, as dental patients, are presented as well as learning about the comorbidities that make them so challenging. This program provides some of the most successful, promising, and encouraging programs in dental health, access to care, and dental education. (November 15, 2023)