Strategies for managing dental care for refugee patients

Srighana Nadella, Abdalla Asi, Olivia Sheridan, Mark Wolff, Neeraj Panchal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To outline key factors that contribute to oral health issues of refugees and asylum seekers and provide management strategies for dental providers to teach desensitization and fear reduction for this special population. Methods and Results: We researched published literature in the PubMed database and incorporated lessons gained from treating refugee and asylee patients at a Vulnerable Populations Clinic (VPC) at an urban academic dental school. Refugees and asylees are at high risk for oral conditions due to a tendency to not seek routine dental treatment, psychological stressors, and various systemic factors. Oral health providers can teach patients desensitization and fear reduction by working to gain patients’ trust by having effective communication and prioritizing comfort in the dental operatory. Providers should also utilize translation, psychological, and/or multicultural support services during their management of care. Conclusion: By having a stronger understanding of the key causes of oral health issues among refugees and asylees in the United States, dental providers can better approach managing care for this vulnerable patient population. The concepts of teaching desensitization and fear reduction utilized for this special population can be applied to managing care for the wider special needs patient community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-828
Number of pages5
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


  • dental care
  • dental caries
  • dental providers
  • oral health
  • refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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