Basic oral health needs: A professional priority?

Lawrence P. Garetto, Karen M. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


The inadequacy of access to oral health care is a complex problem facing society. Many in society who need care are unable to obtain it or do not seek it for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, these are the unfunded, who simply have inadequate resources; the "unaccepted," who may not have dental coverage or have types of coverage that are not accepted by private practitioners; the inaccessible, who may be homebound or live in sparsely populated or low-income geographic areas without dental providers; the unconvinced, who may have resources but do not believe in or recognize the need for treatment; and the unmotivated, who may realize that they need care but for them it is not a priority. While the oral health care professions cannot be expected to shoulder the entire burden to "fix" inadequate access to care, we believe that they have important responsibilities. True professions have a unique relationship with society that places them in positions of trust. With this trust comes the responsibility for public policy advocacy and to actively participate in identifying realistic ways to reduce the access problem. The leadership of organized dentistry, as well as educational institutions, and practitioners themselves must be committed to improving access and thereby the health of those currently underserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1169
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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    Garetto, L. P., & Yoder, K. M. (2006). Basic oral health needs: A professional priority? Journal of dental education, 70(11), 1166-1169.