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Contextualising disability and dentistry: challenging perceptions and removing barriers

Abstract

This paper explores the contextualised relationship between disability and oral health, locating questions about the oral health and oral health care of disabled people within wider debates about the material, social and cultural barriers that disabled people face when accessing health care. Sociological and disability studies research is drawn on to highlight potential barriers to oral health for disabled people and outline alternative ways of looking at, thinking about and challenging these barriers. Starting with a brief look at definitions and understandings of disability and the impact of this on attitudes, research on the multi-level barriers faced by disabled people within oral health care is then highlighted. The article concludes with some thoughts on how research from other disciplinary traditions can be useful in helping to make dentistry more prepared to appropriately and successfully meet the needs of disabled people, both in a special care setting but also, more crucially, in a general dental setting.

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Correspondence to Sasha Scambler.

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Scambler, S., Curtis, S. Contextualising disability and dentistry: challenging perceptions and removing barriers. Br Dent J 227, 55–57 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0463-8

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