":It’s an astonishing fact that as many as 11 percent of our nation’s rural population has never been to the dentist – never once,": says Senator Susan Collins.
Across the nation, the number of dentists in rural areas is rapidly declining. And those who are working in the field are nearing the age of retirement.
":In Maine, we currently have about 580 dentists in active practice…more than three quarters of them are 45 or older.":
That’s why folks from Penobscot Community Health Care’s Dental Clinic joined forces with both EMMC and St. Joe’s to establish the only general practice residency program in the state.
":We know that if we can bring dentists to Maine, they’ll love it here…and they’ll stay. And the best way to get them here, is to train them here.":
Senator Susan Collins was instrumental in securing a $700,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to fund the program.
":Dental health is inseparable from overall health…the establishment of this residency program will help insure that this region has more dentists who are able to provide the oral health care that people of this region so desperately need….I’m very excited about this development, the cooperation between the community health center and the two local hospitals, and I think its going to make a real difference to the people of this region.":
The first two residents are set to take part in the program starting this July.
Rev. Rob Carlson, president of PCHC, says, ":this is truly a momentous day for the state of Maine, for the greater Bangor area, Penobscot Community Health Care, and for those people who are not able to access oral health care.":