The Eastman Institute for Oral Health has been awarded $3.5 million. Sean McLaren is the Resident Director of Pediatric Dentistry at the institute. He says the money will be used to establish a special training program to bridge a critical gap between specialists.
On the one hand, pediatricians that deal with kids with developmental and intellectual disabilities are particularly good with behavior management. But as their patients get older, and their permanent teeth grow in, they have more advanced dental health needs that maybe pediatricians can't address.
"On the other hand, you'll have general dentists that are very very comfortable doing the procedures on the permanent dentition, but they may not be comfortable with the behavior management aspect. So the point of this program is to try to combine those two areas."
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are also more likely to suffer from oral health problems. McLaren says he hopes this training program will help fill a growing need for these well-rounded physicians.
The money will be used to train over a hundred dentists over the next five years.