SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — The Community Dental Center, the newest in Mount Desert Island Hospital’s network of area health centers, opened its doors Wednesday, February 19 in Southwest Harbor with a public ribbon cutting ceremony. The new center, a project five years in the making, aims to increase access to affordable, quality dental health care for all area residents.
While open to all, the center will have a special emphasis on increasing access to oral health services for underserved children. The center’s school-linked oral health program will provide students at all participating schools on MDI and in surrounding areas with cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments and early childhood screenings on site at the child’s own school.
MDI Hospital’s school-linked oral health program recently received a $10,000 grant from Healthy Acadia in cooperation with Downeast Community Transformation Collaborative, through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program will be available to all island schools that choose to participate.
In Hancock County, the need for oral health services is particularly stark: with a population of more than 54,000, Hancock County has 25 dental practices—well below the national average. Recent medical research has shown that poor oral health is linked to increased hospital visits and is a major contributor to overall health. Tooth decay is the most common chronic illness among school-aged children, five times more prevalent than asthma, according to a press release on the new center.
In an effort to combat this trend, the new Community Dental Center will offer comprehensive, coordinated oral care for all ages, pediatric dentistry, preventative care, emergency care and sliding fee scale. The Community Dental Center accepts MaineCare as well as private insurance. For more information or to inquire about becoming a patient of the new Community Dental Center, call 244-2888.