Dr. Dababnah and UMB Colleagues Publish in Special Care in Dentistry

Dr. Dababnah and colleagues in the UMB Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Medicine published a new article focused on the dental needs of adults with disabilities. The abstract and link to the article are below.

Chavis, S. E., Roth, E., Dababnah, S., Tepper, V., Badawi, D. G., & Mullins, C. D. (2022). Qualitative inquiry from multiple perspectives of barriers and facilitators of oral health care for adults with disabilities. Special Care in Dentistry. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/scd.12734




Adults with special health care needs (ASHCN) face significant disparities in access to oral health care and subsequent health outcomes, resulting from several etiologies. This study investigated perspectives of patients, caregivers, and providers to better understand care barriers and facilitators for ASHCN.


We conducted 26 semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample from an academic clinic specializing in oral health care for ASHCN with disabilities [patients (N = 4), caregivers (N = 8), and providers (N = 14)], and thematically analyzed transcripts for care barriers and facilitators.


Three overarching themes that encompassed overlapping barriers and facilitators of oral health care for ASHCN emerged: relational aspects, provider training/ experience, and infrastructure aspects. Themes include intersecting perceptions of factors that hinder or help oral health care and management of ASHCN.


Building relationships with patients, inherent empathetic provider characteristics, and accommodating clinical infrastructure are imperative to facilitate oral health care for ASHCN. The primary themes revealed in this study are facilitators to care when they are present, and barriers to care when they are absent. No individual theme stands alone as a single contributor to quality care, and the provision of care for ASHCN relies on coordination of providers, patients, caregivers, and the overarching infrastructure.