Help! Teeth Hurt

Help! Teeth Hurt is a campaign and project to create a specialized dental clinic for adults with developmental disabilities. Adults with developmental disabilities in British Columbia face enormous barriers in accessing necessary dental treatment in a reasonable time. Access to dental care and treatment is often met with in excruciatingly long waits - sometimes years - which results in suffering pain and severe dental decay. Help! Teeth HurtCreating a Specialized Dental Clinic for Adults with Developmental Disabilities was developed to address this issue.

Adults with developmental disabilities like autism or Down syndrome can’t access necessary dental treatment because there is no specialized clinic in BC to treat them. Some adults will hit their heads or bite their arms with pain while they wait, sometimes for years, for dental treatment in ordinary operating rooms that are not specially equipped for dentistry.  A specialized dental clinic will allow these members of our community to be treated, and will enable dental and medical students at UBC to learn how to treat them. Currently, dental students receive no training in treating adults who have developmental disabilities. 


The Honourable Terry Lake, BC Minister of Health, agreed to consider creating a specialized dental clinic for adults with special needs if we submitted a Business Case that was supported by the UBC Faculty of Dentistry.  Research for the Business Case was funded by the Vancouver Foundation, and we appreciate their financial assistance.  The Business Case below is supported by the UBC Faculty of Dentistry, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, the BC Dental Association, the Pacific Autism Family Network, Aarm Dental Group, Evidental Dental Practice, and our Partner organizations, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, PosAbilities and Inclusion BC.  In December 2016, we submitted the following Business Case to the Minister of Health.   




Dental care is an essential need. Many BC adults who have developmental disabilities can't access necessary dental treatment. This leads to years of waiting, suffering pain and severe dental decay. Adults with developmental disabilities need your help. They don't have a voice of their own.

There is no question that adults with developmental disabilities need our help...They need more than what they are getting right now.
— Dr. Douglas Johnston, Pediatric Dentist, Former Chief of Dentistry at BC Children's Hospital and Toronto Hospital for Sick Children

Who We Are

Find out about the Help! Teeth Hurt project, the vision and resources about dental treatment and disability.

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