Module 1: An Overview of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Oral Health
Special Care- Overview of CSHCN

Key Points

  • The Maternal and Child Health Bureau has defined CSHCN as those “who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and who require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.”
  • An important concept for providing care to CSHCN is the use of “people first” language. People whose bodies or minds work differently should be viewed first as people and second as people with special health care needs.
  • Growth abnormalities, medical conditions, and associated medical treatments may adversely affect oral health. Oral diseases may also have a direct and negative impact on the general health of children with certain systemic or developmental problems or conditions.
  • The prevalence of unmet oral health care needs is almost twice as high among CSHCN as among their counterparts without special health care needs.
  • Depending on individual risk factors, CSHCN may need to visit an oral health professional every 2 to 3 months for preventive care.