History and Outline

The Japanese Society for Disability and Oral Health was founded in 1973 as the Japanese Dental Care Study Group for Children with Disabilities. Changing its name to its current one in 1984, the Society has now grown to approximately 4,300 members as of 2012. Becoming a member of the Specialized Organizations of the Japanese Association for Dental Science in April 1999, we established the Certified Dentist System in 2003 and the Certified Hygienist System in 2008.

In Japan, dental care for people with disabilities dates back to the early 1930s. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, activities were confined to a private and voluntary basis. However, as the regional dental associations, including the Osaka Dental Association, commenced community dental care activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the initiative spread throughout the country.

Additionally, hospital dental departments and dental and oral surgery departments of medical schools actively embraced patients with special needs, and pediatric dental departments of medical schools were especially dedicated to the activities. It was a worldwide trend as the number of people with disabilities was growing, although the initiative initially focused on remedies for disabled children (currently, of the 3.91 million disabled people in Japan, 223,000 are under 18 years -People with Disabilities White Paper 2011-). Consequently, the Department of Special Needs Dentistry was established in the School of Dentistry at Matsudo of Nihon University in 1976. Today, in addition to five schools of dentistry which have a course of special needs dentistry, teaching hospitals of other schools of dentistry have a dental services department for patients with special needs.

Meanwhile, the realm of dental medicine has expanded from treatment of diseases to public health, and has extended its clinical activities to the area of stomatognathic rehabilitation. Currently, the Society organizes a general meeting and a scientific conference annually, and publishes three issues of the Society’s journal (Journal of the Japanese Society for Disability and Oral Health) and three newsletters every year. For fellow members working in special needs dentistry across Japan, the Society plays a key role as a forum for exchanging opinion, carrying out research activities, and implementing healthcare promotion programs.

The aims of the Japanese Society for Disability and Oral Health are to boost interactions between members and related organizations in Japan and abroad and to improve members’ capabilities related to research, education, and clinical practice, thereby contributing to maintaining and promoting the oral health of people with disabilities toward the common goal of all members: enhancing the health and welfare of the nation. With these objectives in mind, the Society implements the following programs:

  1. Programs related to hosting scientific conferences
  2. Organizing of oral research presentations, lectures, seminars, etc.
  3. Publication of the Society’s journal
  4. Accreditation of various qualifications related to special needs dentistry
  5. Programs to provide education and training for researchers and healthcare, public health, and welfare providers related to special needs dentistry
  6. Investigation and joint studies relevant to special needs dentistry
  7. Alliance and interactions with Japanese and overseas organizations involved in special needs dentistry
  8. Programs to release information about healthcare, public health, and welfare, and to raise public awareness, in relation to special needs dentistry
  9. Other programs required to achieve the aims of the Society

The Japanese Society for Disability and Oral Health has two key components: academic (universities, researchers) and clinical (activities of dental associations, general dentists), which mutually interact to improve each other. We are committed to serving as a bridge connecting community dentistry activities led by the world's outstanding dental associations and the nation, to help promote quality of life for people with disabilities while constantly improving the contents of our programs.