Provided in partnership with the Massachusetts Departments of Developmental Services and Public Health
Tufts Dental Facilities (TDF) provides comprehensive dental care for adults and children with developmental disabilities living in Massachusetts. The TDF program began in 1976, as a result of a court order mandating that the commonwealth expand access to medical and dental care for individuals with special needs. Today, TDF has more than 6,500 patients who are receiving care from oral health providers who have the expertise, experience and facilities to properly serve patients with special needs.
TDF provides comprehensive dental care for patients with special needs at eight locations across Massachusetts. We welcome patients and their caregivers who have had trouble finding dental providers who can accommodate their needs and who accept MassHealth insurance. Click here to become a patient.
In addition, the Division of Special Care in Dentistry at Tufts Dental School operates the TDF Special Needs Community Dental Health Program, which delivers on-site dental health services to high-risk populations in schools, Head Start programs, adult day activity centers, sheltered workshops and community residences. Dental hygienists travel throughout the state with portable dental equipment, providing oral health care.
Unlike most dental schools, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) offers students a unique opportunity to work with special needs patients in a clinical setting as part of their Special Care Rotation. Before graduating, all predoctoral dental students are required to spend one week at one of the Tufts Dental Facilities sites for a Special Care Rotation, to learn how to work with individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information on TUSDM’s DMD program, click here.
In addition, students in the postdoctoral General Practice Residency Program spend roughly 40 percent of their time working with special needs patients – significantly more than they would at a typical hospital or community health center. Like the Special Care Rotation, this experience provides important exposure to both the challenges and rewards of working with the special needs population.
Many individuals with developmental disabilities are forced to go without necessary dental care, that can result in tooth decay, gum disease, pain, infection and tooth loss. TDF’s mission is to ensure that all individuals with disabilities receive dental treatment in a setting that can accommodate their needs. Adequate state support is critical to TDF’s continued operation and mission. You can help us in our mission! Email, call or write your local Massachusetts representative and tell them to continue to support Tufts Dental Facilities. Take Action.