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.
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.
2020 Presidents Message
Welcome to the website of Special Care Advocates in Dentistry, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the oral health of people with special needs. SAID members are dental professionals and suppliers who look to each other to enhance their level of expertise in a field that is defined by the uniqueness of each interaction. As anyone in the organization can attest, the dentistry part of special needs dentistry is not what creates the challenge, but rather how to deliver it in a way that meets the standard of care and also accommodates the sensitivities of the individual patient. That often requires outside of the box thinking and outside of the norm caring. In this endeavor, SAID is here to guide its members and give them the tools and support they need to accomplish this challenging yet rewarding service.
If you are considering joining our group, please feel free to reach out (click here to leave a message). We will be happy to answer any questions and to put you in touch with a member who can tell you first-hand what the organization can contribute to your individual quest.
And to all of our current and prospective members — Thank you for the special work that you do!
Carolyn Fetter 2020 President
Present to Past Officers & Annual Meeting Locations
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.