Chair of Disabled Oriented Dentistry – Uni Witten


Dear visitors!

Welcome to the homepage of the Department of Disabled Dentistry of the University Dental Clinic Witten/Herdecke. According to the Federal Statistical Office, about eight million people with an officially recognised severe disability live in Germany. However, not all forms of disability have an effect on oral health. Experience has shown that this is only the case if the disability leads to one or more of the following situations:

  • a balanced diet is not possible,
  • The chewing function is severely restricted for various reasons,
  • the self-responsible oral hygiene is very difficult,
  • cooperation in dental treatment is severely impaired,
  • the natural protective function of saliva is no longer guaranteed.

Our therapy is in line with the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, paragraph 25 of which calls for “health professionals to provide people with disabilities with health care of the same quality as people without disabilities and to provide them with affordable health care of the same scope, quality and standard as people without disabilities”.

We see the focus of our activities in promoting the prevention of caries, inflammation of the gums (gingivitis or periodontitis) or malfunctions of the mouth and face in patients with disabilities of all age groups. In many cases, we can only achieve this in cooperation with the persons who, if necessary, support the patients with disabilities, for example parents, family members, caregivers or legal representatives.

Another important focus of our activities is the early detection and early treatment of diseases in the mouth and dental area. It is our urgent wish that our patients keep their teeth for as long as possible. This is why, in addition to prevention, we primarily carry out measures to preserve teeth. However, this can only succeed if the patients with disabilities are regularly presented to a dentist for prevention and early diagnosis, and not only when there are complaints.

1) Measures to gain the trust of the patient 2) Diagnosis, diagnosis and therapy planning 3) Regular thorough tooth cleaning by our qualified personnel 4) Advice on preventive (=preventive) measures 5) Implementation of preventive measures 6) Advice on preventive measures at home 7) Restoration of carious defects with modern materials, for example with special dental plastics (composite) 8) Restoration of defects caused by trauma (fall, accident) with modern materials (e.g. composite) 9) Root canal treatment 10) Periodontal therapy 11) Prosthetic therapy (e.g. crowns, bridges, removable dentures) 12) Implants (possibly in cooperation with the Department of Oral Surgery) 13) Orthodontic consultations in cooperation with the Department of Orthodontics

We are repeatedly asked whether we have the possibility to treat patients under general anaesthesia.

In fact, we can treat most patients who visit our department in a waking state. However, if this is not possible, we can provide dental treatment under general anaesthesia in consultation with one of the anaesthetists who perform the anaesthesia in our clinic. In these cases we also consult with the family doctor or paediatrician. At present, we can only carry out treatments under anaesthesia under outpatient conditions. Inpatient admission is currently not possible at the dental clinic of the University of Witten/Herdecke.


The dental clinic of the University of Witten/Herdecke is the only university dental clinic in Germany with a chair and a department for disabled dentistry. This means that those studying dentistry here have the privilege of being able to learn from the first semester on how to respond as a dentist to the specific needs of patients with disabilities or special impairments. Preventive dentistry is at the forefront. Its aim is to preserve as many teeth as possible for a lifetime. Teaching in our subject consists of lectures and compulsory internships. Lectures in “Disabled Oriented Dentistry” are offered in the first, fourth, eighth and ninth semesters. The students who take part in the integrated course in the seventh semester complete an internship with currently five focal points. It enables them to get a sound introduction to the special aspects of communication and how to deal with people with different types of disability, such as severe visual or mental disabilities, spastic paralysis or severe walking disabilities.

This prepares the students for the second part of the internship. It is attended in the eighth and ninth semesters. The students primarily assist in the treatment of patients with disabilities. They can observe how the dentists of the Department of Disabled Oriented Dentistry gain the trust of their patients, examine them and then make a diagnosis and define a therapy plan.

Students can also experience the importance of regular, thorough dental cleaning and how to do it. A special concern of the staff of the Department of Disabled Oriented Dentistry is to train the caregivers of patients with mental and/or multiple disabilities in such a way that they can carry out thorough supportive oral hygiene. The students can also follow how a filling is placed, how periodontal treatment is carried out and how dental prostheses are made.

For some patients with disabilities, it is unavoidable to carry out dental treatment under general anaesthesia. Students assist in this type of dental treatment.

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Christina Cherry
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