From the community

Dental Clinic Returns after Year Long Absence

Posted April 01, 2014, at 9:38 a.m.
Last modified April 01, 2014, at 2:42 p.m.

It’s been a year since the New York University College of Dentist Medicine (NYUCD) Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Clinic has been in Machias. It will be returning April 14th-19th.

The clinic has become something many Washington County residents count on. More than 4,600 dental appointments were provided for children and adults during the first three years. The program had been in Machias each spring and fall to provide no cost dental care. Last year there was no fall clinic for a couple of reasons, primarily because it has been so successful. From the beginning the goal was to reduce tooth decay among children. That has happened. Hundreds of children have received comprehensive dental services to restore teeth affected by cavities. The reduction in tooth decay is also thanks to continued preventative efforts by the “Tooth Ferry” mobile dental van, operated by the Washington County Children’s Program (WCCP) – a division of United Cerebral Palsy. It provides fluoride and sealants for schools and Head Start programs in between the NYUCD visits. Oral Health Coordinator Teresa Alley says the difference they are seeing during those visits is “simply amazing.”

Finances were also a consideration in reducing the number of dental outreach clinics to one a year. To offer care to adults and children for one week through the program costs more than $50,000. The program was initiated thanks to a grant by Northeast Delta Dental Foundation and Delta Dental Plan of Maine, and has been sustained primarily through providing care to children. Unfortunately, due to limitations on MaineCare dental coverage for adults, the program is not financially sustainable in caring for both adults and children. Delta Dental Plan of Maine and the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation have been lead contributors to the program to support NYUCD’s ability to offer care at no cost to patients. ”We are thrilled with how successful this collaborative program has been in reducing oral disease in children, raising awareness or oral health, and increasing access to dental care in Washington County,” said Kathleen B. Walker, treasurer of the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation. NYUCD, WCCP and Caring Hands of Maine are committed to providing high quality dental care in Washington County at no cost to the patients this spring.

The Clinic will be held April 14th-19th at the Lee Pellon Event Center located at 90 Main Street in Machias. It will be closed on Thursday, April 17th. The event is open to anyone having trouble accessing dental care. It is not meant to replace regular care they are already receiving. Services are provided at no cost but insurance/MaineCare will be accepted when it’s available. Complete care is available for children. Adults are seen for emergency care on a walk- in basis. The dental clinic is made possible by Delta Dental of Maine, Northeast Delta Dental Foundation and Henry Schein Cares. The partners involved in the planning and implementation include NYU College of Dentistry, Caring Hands of Maine, Washington County Children’s Program- a division of United Cerebral Palsy, Washington Hancock Community Agency and Child and Family Opportunities.

For more information please contact Teresa Alley at 255-3426.

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