ELLSWORTH – Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center in Ellsworth, a newly opened non-profit dental clinic, hosted the first annual â€śBack to School Smiles Dayâ€ť on Saturday, Sept. 18. Free dental care was provided at the Dental Center to area children and their families. This event was meant to increase awareness of the importance of good oral health and to help prevent problems with teeth this school year. Recent findings have shown that oral health problems are a leading cause of missed school days across the country, and tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem in children. 8 volunteers from 3 area dental practices and the University College of Bangor Dental program were on hand to help with the effort. During the event around 30 patients were seen and treated. Many of these patients were from the Ellsworth area, but families from the Bangor area, MDI, and Washington county also participated.
The Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center would like to thank all those that volunteered on a sunny weekend day, and thank the RSU 24 school nurses, the Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, the Washington County Childrenâ€™s Program, Child and Family Opportunities, the Harbor House in Southwest Harbor, and others who helped get the word out about this community event.
Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center is a new community resource that was opened in August to provide access to affordable dental care. Its director, Dr. Timothy Oh, has practiced in area non-profit clinics for the past two years. â€śThere are several dental-related challenges facing residents in Maine. Many areas of the state have a shortage of dentists, and there is an even harder time finding providers who accept Mainecare membersâ€ť said Dr. Oh, he added that, â€śwe started the clinic to address these challenges and also to serve as a teaching facility to encourage people to start their careers in rural areas.â€ť
The centerâ€™s primary mission is to improve the oral health of children and adolescents, but adults are seen as well. The Dental Center accepts Mainecare and other dental plans and offers reduced fees for private pay families. Besides providing care at their location on Kingsland Crossing, the program also is involved in outreach projects, bringing portable dental equipment to remote areas without dental coverage such as the Mill Pond Health Center on Swanâ€™s Island. Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center is also a co-sponsor for a large weeklong dental outreach project in Machias taking place the first week of October.
Contact Name: Timothy Oh