Mount Desert Island Hospital and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital have joined together to provide increased access to quality oral health services in Downeast Maine. Together, the hospitals will offer comprehensive dental care to MDI, Ellsworth and the surrounding communities through MDI Hospital’s new Community Dental Center opening Feb. 19 in Southwest Harbor and the Maine Coast Community Dental Clinic.
“We are thrilled to join with our friends at Maine Coast to offer our community the access to quality dental health that they deserve close to home,” said MDI Hospital President/CEO Art Blank. “This innovative partnership allows us to combine efficiencies in order to provide increased access to quality oral health services throughout Downeast Maine.”
MDI Hospital’s new Community Dental Center, opening Feb. 19 in Southwest Harbor, will be the first fully non-profit dental center on MDI. While open to all, the center will have a special emphasis on connecting underserved children to oral health services. Through its school-linked oral health program, the Community Dental Center will provide students on MDI and in surrounding areas with cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments and early childhood screenings on site at the child’s own school. MDI Hospital’s partnership with Maine Coast will allow the Maine Coast Community Dental Clinic in Ellsworth to continue to offer services from its main clinic location as well as through an expanded portable hygiene program.
Layne Whitely, DDS will anchor the partnership, seeing patients at the new Community Dental Center and the Ellsworth clinic.
Children participating in Community Dental’s school-based program will receive two preventive screenings a year and those who require more comprehensive restorative services such as fillings or extractions will be referred to the center’s main location in Southwest Harbor. MDI Hospital’s school linked oral health program recently received a $10,000 grant from Healthy Acadia in cooperation with the Downeast Community Transformation Collaborative, through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant funding couldn’t have come at a better time. Here in Hancock County, the need for oral health services is particularly stark: with a population of more than 54,000, Hancock County has 25 dental practices—well below the national average. Recent medical research has shown that poor oral health is linked to increased hospital visits and is a major contributor to overall health. Tooth decay is now the most common chronic illness among school aged children, five times more prevalent than asthma.
In an effort to combat this trend, the new Community Dental Center will offer comprehensive, coordinated oral care for all ages, pediatric dentistry, preventative care, emergency care and sliding fee scale. The Community Dental Center will accept MaineCare as well as private insurance. For more information or to inquire about becoming a patient of the new Community Dental Center, call 244-2888.