Dental Care Levels for CSHCN

Many children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) also have special needs in dental care. The Medical Home Portal and dental care providers developed the information here to describe levels of complexity in providing dental health for CYSHCN.

Boy with special health care need sporting a big smile with missing front teeth
Some Portal state partners surveyed regional dental care providers asking that they self-identify the level of care they are able to provide. Responses are included in the providers’ Services Directory listings.

The Portal recommends talking with a prospective dental care provider for more information about their services and the insurance plans they accept. The descriptions below may be helpful when talking to a practice, particularly if there is no level listed in the Services Directory.

Dental Level 1

  • A common diagnosis (conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, arthritis, depression, diabetes)
  • Mild developmental delays
  • No wheelchair, oxygen, or essential medical equipment
  • Mild behavior problems or mental health issues
  • No oral aversions

Dental Level 2

  • A diagnosis that is likely to change how care is given (conditions such as Down Syndrome, hearing or vision impairment, cleft lip/palate)
  • Moderate developmental delays
  • Wheelchair, but no other essential medical equipment
  • Moderate behavior problems or mental health issues
  • Oral aversions requiring patient/parent management technique

Dental Level 3

  • A diagnosis that affects communication with the patient and how care is given (conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury)
  • Wheelchair and other essential medical equipment (oxygen, pumps, etc.)
  • Moderate to severe behavior problems or mental health issues requiring sedation
  • Oral aversions requiring sedation

Searching for Levels

If you are looking for a dentist who provides care at a specific level:

  • Choose one of the "Services" below, such as "Pediatric Dentistry services providers";
  • In the "Search" box, use quotation marks and type in the level, like "Level 3";
  • In the results, you will have the option to enter a nearby city in the “City” box to refine results;
  • Click on the service and check the description of services to see if it matches your needs.

Reminder: Dental Care Levels are only included for providers who have provided that information to the Medical Home Portal. Other dentists may also provide care at these levels for CYSHCN.


Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

Services for Patients & Families Nationwide (NW)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: August 2008; last update/revision: August 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Alfred N. Romeo, RN, PhD
Reviewer: Mindy Tueller, MS, MCHES