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About SAID

SAID is a benevolent group of dental professionals whose mission is to improve the oral health of people with disabilities through service, education, and advocacy.

Our History

SAID was begun by Dr. Gerald Bensberg in 1966, who was the Director of the Attendant Training Project, a five year program supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, and sponsored by the Southern Regional Education Board – a non-profit organization based in Atlanta.

Dr. Bensberg invited dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and other interested professionals who served in facilities throughout fifteen (15) southern states to participate in a seminar to consider ways of delivering better dental care to dental patients with special needs. The seminar proved extremely beneficial to the attendees and the group decided to meet yearly, calling themselves The Southern Association of Institutional Dentists (SAID).

Since 1966, SAID has grown in scope and membership, and today boasts an active membership of over 300 persons representing twenty nine (29) states, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, & Canada.

The scope of SAID has changed to include not only the developmentally disabled client, but also the mentally ill client. SAID is the only organization in the United States that deals primarily with the dental needs of the institutional client. Its membership is comprised of dental professionals working full-time in institutions or professionals who devote a large portion of their time treating patients with developmental disabilities, mental illness and other medical complications.

SAID is the only organization in the United States that deals primarily with the dental needs of the institutional client. The scope of SAID has changed to include not only people with developmentally disabilities, but also those with mental health challenges. While SAID maintains its southern heritage, its spirit has been enriched by members from all regions of the country, as well as Canada. In 2010, the SAID name was officially changed to “Special Care Advocates in Dentistry” because the original “Southern Association of Institutional Dentists” no longer reflected the diverse makeup and the broadened focus of the organization. What has not changed is the original vision of improving the oral health of people with special needs.

Ellen Anderson

2023 Presidents Message

Welcome to  SAID: Special Care Advocates in Dentistry


We are an organization that supports and advocates for dental professionals that treat individuals who have difficulty finding and receiving dental care due to intellectual, physical, mental, and other behavioral challenges. The SAID organization is over 50 years old and originated with dentists that primarily practiced at intuitions in the South.


Over the years, SAID has grown to include dental professionals from all over the United States. Our members practice and advocate in all types of settings including clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, dental education programs, product development and education, and even private practice.


What we all have in common is our heart and passion to serve those that face challenges to care. With growth and change, our focus remains on the patient with special needs and the dental professionals that care for them.


Every year for the past 57 years, SAID hosts an annual seminar bringing together members and speakers to share their experiences and knowledge to learn from one another. We are like a family, and we all look forward to reuniting with old friends and welcoming new members.


Our 2023 event will take place on October 19 & 20  just outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, IL.  Meeting participants that wish to attend our strategic planning meeting on Wednesday evening October 18 are encouraged to sign up.


The 58th Annual Seminar will offer up to 12 CE with topics of interest including Down Syndrome, Dementia Medications, Cardiology, In Office Sedation Techniques and Protective Stabilization, Autism, Digital Dentistry, Updates on Educational Requirements, Pearls ( 3-5 minute snippets from our meeting participants) and much, much more.


As a group we love to socialize and this year is no exception. The President’s Reception on Thursday Evening will again give us the opportunity to mix and mingle. SAID has a tradition of having a “Home Town” gift exchange during this reception. If you would like to participate, please bring a small gift (< $20.00)  from your home state that can easily travel on a plane. This is always a fun activity;  giving us a chance to get to know each other even better.


I am honored to welcome you to my home state and I am especially excited to welcome new members from Illinois to this amazing organization.


Thank you for visiting our website and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in October.


With Gratitude,


Ellen Anderson

SAID President 2023

Presidents Message

Present to Past Officers & Annual Meeting Locations

Past Presidents


SAID's membership is comprised of dental professionals working full time in institutions or professionals who devote a large portion of their time treating the developmentally disabled, mentally ill and/or otherwise medically compromised client.

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