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 Community OutreachCOHDY     November 26, 2015  

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare for Disabled Youth

"We all smile in the same language"

Our Comprehensive Oral Health for Disabled Youth (COHDY) Program began in 1996 by Betty Zembrowski, RDH. The program is designed for children who have medical or physical disabilities.

Oral health is essential for children with special needs because:

  • Disabilities can make brushing and flossing difficult;
  • Disabilities can make swallowing and chewing difficult;
  • Medications prescribed to control a disease can cause dry mouth, tooth discoloration, bleeding and/or swelling of the gums;
  • Tooth decay may be present between crowded or misaligned teeth; and
  • Poor eating habits may compromise good oral health.

COHDY provides comprehensive and specialized dental care including cleanings, hygiene instruction, restorative treatment and dietary counseling. Specialized dental care includes:

  • A gentle approach to calm anxious patients;
  • Frequent visit scheduling;
  • Update parents and patient with newest dental treatment and procedures;
  • Oral hygiene instructions;
  • Dietary assessment; and
  • Dental counseling

Each child’s needs are taken into consideration for a customized treatment plan. Dentists, hygienists, physicians, nurse practitioners, and the child’s caregivers provide input into the treatment plan to be sure all oral health needs are met.

Over 4,000 children and young adults have benefited from this program.


For more information about the COHDY program, or to volunteer in this program, please call Cheryl DiVita, RDH, at 716-878-7293, or email our Community Outreach Coordinator, Debbie Licata.


Developmentally Disabled Information

Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York


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