By Amy Simmons
In Maine an effort underway to grow more dentists is finally seeing some progress and getting some attention from the Portland Press Herald. The local paper recently threw the spotlight on a University of New England (UNE) plan to open dental school in 2011 — despite some financing challenges in the current economic climate. A dental school at UNE would be the only one in northern New England. The state is suffering from a chronic shortage of dentists, with roughly one dentist per 3,400 residents on average. UNE is also working with the Maine Primary Care Association’s Community Health Center network to expand dental offerings, including the opportunity for UNE dental students to do their clinical work at a health center in Maine.
“When [the dental students] do graduate and start to practice on their own, they are better equipped to handle the wide range of decay and disease and issues that confront our dentists, where sometimes patients coming in haven’t seen a dentist for years,” said Kevin Lewis, chief executive officer of the Maine Primary Care Association.
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