Delta Dental NJ Providing Enhanced Special Healthcare Needs Benefit

Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc. (DDNJ) has introduced an enhanced special healthcare needs benefit for children and adults with qualifying special healthcare conditions. Group-covered members of any age with a qualifying special healthcare need will be eligible for this benefit.

“At Delta Dental of New Jersey, through the work of our Foundation, we have a long history of working with organizations who support people with special needs, and we are acutely aware of the unmet dental care needs facing these individuals,” said Dr. Keith Libou, chief clinical officer of Delta Dental of New Jersey. “With this benefit, Delta Dental is helping to break down barriers to make oral healthcare more inclusive and accessible for those with special needs in New Jersey.”

As defined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, special healthcare needs include any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, healthcare intervention and/or use of specialized services or programs.

The enhanced special healthcare needs benefit covers:

  • Additional dental examinations and/or consultations, which can be beneficial prior to treatment to help patients learn what to expect and what is needed for a successful dental appointment.
  • Up to four dental cleanings in a benefit year.
  • Treatment delivery modifications (including nitrous oxide and anesthesia) necessary for dental staff to provide oral healthcare for patients with sensory sensitivities, behavioral challenges, severe anxiety or other barriers to treatment.

“I’ve been a pediatric dentist for over 20 years and, like all dentists, want for special need patients who live in the community with us to have proper access to dental care,” said Dr. Elisa J Velazquez, DMD, MSD, NJ Academy of Pediatric Dentistry immediate past president, NJ Hispanic Dental Association president, and NJ Dental Association president-elect. “Special needs individuals require an approach that isn’t cookie-cutter. For example, they require more frequent dentist visits to gain a level of familiarity and alleviate some of their fear and anxiety. Delta Dental of New Jersey’s special needs benefits program will be truly life-changing for these patients and their families.”

Last June, Delta Dental of New Jersey, along with the New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA) and Special Olympics of New Jersey (SONJ), launched a special needs provider directory of those who are trained to make different exam and treatment modifications, leading to a safer and more comfortable patient experience with improved outcomes. This directory continues to be updated by the NJDA as new dentists sign up to be added to the list.

“Delta Dental has been one of our longest-standing partners providing support to our athletes for over 30 years”, said Heather Andersen, President & CEO, Special Olympics New Jersey. “Enhancing the special needs benefit and expanding dental care through a network of providers is game-changing for our athletes and families who do not have the access or the means to seek proper dental healthcare.”

In 2023, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation donated several grants to local organizations that ensure those with a range of physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities receive the dental care they need. Notable New Jersey recipients include Morristown Medical Center Foundation, Matheny Medical and Educational Center, and Hope Christian Services. Delta Dental is also a longtime supporter of Special Olympics New Jersey.

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