As state expands access to care, Maine’s dental school to train more students


Ben Martin, a  fourth-yr dental university student, middle, will work Friday with affected individual Michael McAteer at the College of New England’s dental university in Portland. 2nd-years Jack Edmiston, left, and Ethan Jordan observe the method. Brianna Soukup/Personnel Photographer

The College of New England’s dental university – the only 1 in northern New England – is growing, and that could assist meet Maine’s increasing have to have for dentists.

The College or university of Dental Medication is renovating its amenities in Portland to take care of bigger course measurements and will boost enrollment by 8 learners starting up in the tumble of 2023. The university, which at this time has 64 students, will insert 6 students to its standard 4-yr method, and two to a application that prepares overseas-skilled dentists to look for licensing in the U.S. in a very little extra than two a long time.

The college has graduated 377 dentists because it was started 9 years back, and about a quarter of them have ended up receiving licensed to practice in Maine, faculty officials say. But even so, point out overall health officers say Maine requirements additional practicing dentists, particularly in rural locations.

And demand from customers for dental providers is about to expand in Maine right after the condition expanded insurance plan protection final 7 days.

As of Friday, Maine has expanded the assortment of dental providers coated by MaineCare, which is funded by the state and federal governments and supplies cost-free or low-price health insurance to minimal-cash flow Mainers. That expansion system, accepted by the Legislature last 12 months, added  preventive care and other basic dental companies to the items included by the insurance policy to about 200,000 Maine older people. It also will come with far better reimbursement costs for dentists, a shift the point out hopes will entice extra dentists to established up methods in Maine.

The expanded providers will value about $45 million and will extra than double the value of the coverage coverage for dental treatment for adult Mainers on MaineCare.

Numerous dental techniques for small children are already covered by MaineCare, but older people only experienced coverage for emergencies.

Incorporating more expert services to MaineCare’s grownup protection not only supplies improved wellness treatment to Mainers, the Mills administration stated, it also suggests far more small business for dentists. MaineCare’s dental coverage experienced mostly been confined to this kind of emergencies as tooth extractions, and a lot of of individuals have been carried out in unexpected emergency rooms, instead than dentists’ places of work.

Now, strategies such as cleanings, fillings, root canals, dentures and other oral health and fitness solutions will be coated by the insurance policy and UNE is expecting that will enable fuel a lot more business for far more dentists in the point out.

“There’s absolutely even now a need (for much more dentists) in Maine, and we are knowledgeable of the will need,” Dr. Nici S. Kimmes, the interim dean of the dental college, stated.

The head of the Maine Dental Association explained she hoped that the cooperation of the state, UNE and dentists on growing MaineCare coverage would direct to favourable function on other difficulties that may possibly in any other case inhibit the growth of dentistry tactics in the condition.

“We glimpse ahead to our continued collaboration to assistance tackle some of the logistical difficulties clients and providers could working experience in the coming weeks and months,” Dr. Norma Desjardins, president of the MDA, reported. “Dental workplaces, like many health care offices and facilities across the condition, continue to practical experience staffing shortages as a result of the pandemic.”

University of New England dental college interim dean Dr. Nicole Kimmes exterior the Oral Wellness Heart in Portland. A new MaineCare dental reward will shell out for cleanings, fillings, root canals, dentures and other oral health and fitness providers.  Brianna Soukup/Personnel Photographer

UNE currently attempts to fill that want for dental wellbeing care by way of about a dozen dental treatment clinics that college students are assigned to in their fourth year. UNE also operates a clinic on its Portland campus where by students take care of clients beneath the supervision of certified dentists.

The school said it treats all around 100 patients a day in the Portland clinic and about a 3rd are insured by MaineCare, so the vary of procedure they can acquire will mature beneath the new insurance policies tips and provide dental learners with far more encounter in a wider array of techniques.

Kimmes explained the Portland clinic and other individuals are made to serve places and populations that are lacking in dentists and a significant quantity of the individuals addressed there have MaineCare coverage, so the alterations in what is lined are significant.

“We are component of the safety internet and our students are section of enhancing that,” she reported.

UNE officials claimed the clinics deliver a way for a lot more MaineCare-included patients to get care and cut down wait moments and can deliver a location for donated or lowered-payment products and services to be available for significant-value techniques.

The university reported dental pupils also travel to colleges, nursing households, housing authority clinics and cell clinics in the course of the state, alongside with UNE’s dental hygiene clinic, to give dental products and services to Mainers.


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