Lincoln County Dental’s new suite in the bottom floor of the Lincoln Medical Partners Family Care Center at 19 St. Andrews Lane in Boothbay will provide easier access to low-cost dental services for people in the region.
Lincoln County Dental offers reduced fee dental services for patients at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.
For the past five years, Lincoln County Dental has largely focused on providing care for people with dental infections and pain, but in partnership with LincolnHealth, the organization is now offering preventative services at the Boothbay Region School Health Center and at the Family Care Center in Boothbay Harbor.
There is a great need for affordable dental care in Lincoln County because MaineCare, which provides health insurance for Maine people who meet certain income thresholds, does not cover preventative dental care for adults.
Without access to regular dental care, many Lincoln County residents arrive in emergency departments with severe pain and dental infections. In 2009, the year Lincoln County Dental was founded, Lincoln County emergency departments saw more than 2,400 uninsured patients for dental pain.
Today, volunteer dental providers see on average about 25 patients a week. A recent week included 12 extractions, six fillings, six oral hygiene cleaning appointments and three serious dental infections.
Dental problems have been linked to a wide range of other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and babies born with low birth weights.
Because the need is so great for the most serious dental problems, there is not nearly enough time and resources available to meet the existing need for the preventative care that can prevent gum disease and infections.
Vicki Kenny, Oral Health Coordinator for Lincoln County Dental, said the program’s biggest need is for more volunteer dental providers, although used equipment, including extraction instruments and x-ray equipment would also be an enormous help.
Money would also allow the program to buy equipment and pay for more time from providers.
Independent Practice Dental Hygienist, Courtney Vannah, said she would like to see another satellite office like the one in the Family Care Center. Some patients cannot keep appointments because they do not have reliable transportation. Moving care closer to potential patients would make it more accessible.
“We are trying to come to them because we understand they can’t come to us. We want to see as many people as we can see and make it as user friendly for them as possible,” said Vannah. “Preventing decay before it happens is not only more cost effective, it is more beneficial to the patient.”
For more information about Lincoln County Dental, please call 563-8668.