For five years now, students from New York University’s College of Dentistry have made their way to Machias to provide free dental care to locals.
“We do root canals here, we do surgery, we do restorations. Whatever basically is needed by the community,” said Vice Dean Stuart Hirsch.
Over the course of this week, these future dentists expect to see about 700 adult patients, as well as some 300 area kids.
And for many of them, it’s been a while.
“The majority of people in here have not been to the dentist in a very long time,” said Hirsch.
These NYU students have been cleaning teeth all day, and many of them say the need here in Washington County is greater here than they expected.
“I’m working on removing the decay from the tooth and then filling that. There’s a lot people with a lot of teeth that need to be filled. I’ll fill one tooth and then they’ll say okay, what are we going to do next. It’s endless,” said Daniel Zicherman, a fourth-year dental student at NYU.
That’s because many here struggle to make ends meet, and dental care falls by the wayside.
“If you’re faced with, do I put food on the table or make a dental appointment, financial constraints are something that families face every day,” said Teresa Alley, Oral Health Coordinator for Washington County Children’s Program.
But by offering free dental care now, the hope is to educate the public on the importance of prevention.
“The kids are the ones who need more attention because they have so many years ahead of them and they need to preserve as many teeth as they can,” said fourth-year dental student Iqbal Sheikh.
Improving a community’s oral health, and cultivating compassionate dentists along the way.
“What we’re looking for them is to broaden their vision of what a professional is. And part of that is giving back. Part of that is finding a solution to access to care,” said Hirsch.
The weeklong clinic is being held at the Lee Pellon Event Center on Main Street in Machias.
They offer complete dental care for children, and emergency care for adults.
The hours are as follows:
Tuesday, April 15th – 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Wednesday, April 16th – 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Friday, April 18th – 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday, April 19th 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
For more information call 255-3426.