The Surgeon General’s Report and special-needs patients: a framework for action for children and their caregivers.

The Surgeon General’s Report, Oral Health in America, is the first comprehensive assessment of oral, dental, and craniofacial health in the history of our nation. The intent of this first-ever Report is to alert Americans to the full meaning of oral health and its importance to general health and well-being across the lifespan. Moreover, the Report has been released at a time in human history of enormous changes as well as opportunities. The convergence of public health policies, “quality of life” expectations, global informatics, a new century of biotechnology, the completion of the Human Genome Project, changes in the management of health care, and the acknowledgment of enormous health disparities herald a call to action. These profound dynamics particularly affect children and their caregivers and the multitude of social, economic, and health issues associated with special patients and developmental disabilities. This paper will highlight the issues, provide recommendations, and suggest a call to action.