Special Needs Dentistry

The Pacific Dental Services® Foundation is leading the charge to make oral health more accessible to people with special needs. While providing training to dental professionals and advocating for the special needs community, we saw the need to increase access to oral healthcare and responded to this need by opening the first Pacific Dental Services Dentists for Special Needs office. The office provides immediate dental care for people with special needs, and is helping make proper oral health achievable for patients between visits.


Dentists for Special Needs 

There are over 52 million people with disabilities in the United States. In fact, the number one health care problem of people with intellectual and physical disabilities is the inability to access competent oral healthcare. We've responded to this need with our first Dentists for Special Needs dental office in Phoenix, Arizona. This office is dedicated to providing dental professionals with knowledge and tools to serve patients with special needs. 

Residency Partnership with NYU Langone Dental Medicine

In 2020 we launched a new residency program for Pediatric Residents from New York University Langone Dental Medicine. This new program will offer four second-year residents and four first-year residents with one-on-one guidance focused on special needs advocacy and training. 

Educational Resources 

Our goal is to make proper oral health care achievable for patients between their visits. This starts with at-home care. Our supporters at the Smile Generation teamed up with Special Olympics to create educational resources for patients and caregiver's to use at home. With proper at-home care and routine dental visits, we know that all patients can achieve proper oral health care. 

Click here for the Caregiver's Guide.

Click here for information on the Mouth Body Connection.

We support adding medically necessary oral health coverage to Medicare. 

A coalition of more than 130 organizations have signed onto the statement urging Medicare to add dental. There is mounting evidence that shows periodontal disease may exacerbate systemic diseases. View the statement by click below. 


Making a difference in special needs dentistry

“Thanks to the commitment, passion and expertise of the Pacific Dental Services Foundation’s Dentists for Special Needs dental clinic in Phoenix. Special Olympics athletes in Arizona will now have a dental home where they can be welcomed and receive competent and caring health care.

– Dr. Steven Perlman, DDS, Global Clinical Director and Founder, Special Olympics Special Smiles

Benjamin's Story

The PDS Foundation is proud to be paving the way towards improved access to care and healthier, happier smiles for patients with special needs of all ages in communities across the country. Meet Benjamin—one of the nearly 52 million Americans with a disability who’ve found it hard to obtain adequate oral care. Fortunately, his story has a happier ending than many.

Kevin's Story

The PDS Foundation is proud to be increasing access to oral healthcare for patients with special needs, who have lacked the resources to achieve proper oral health. Meet Kevin— one of the many American's with special needs who's oral healthcare needs were not being met.  Fortunately, Kevin now has a dental home for life. 

Chanel's Story

The PDS Foundation is proud to serve both adult and pediatric patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Meet Chanel— one of the over 52 million people in America with a disability. She was in need of dental care but struggled to find a provider that treated adult patients with disabilites. Fortunately, Chanel has been relieved of her dental pain and has been able to eat again. 

Photo Gallery

Tyler's Story

Tyler, an athlete at the Special Olympics from Virginia, had his front tooth knocked out during his softball game at the 2018 USA Games. In addition to a crown, Dr. Bolak saw he needed a root canal and multiple fillings and took care of those, too.

Donate Now to Special Needs

A gift of $10, $25, $50, or $100 can make a difference. Give directly to special needs.