DOVER-FOXCROFT - The Penobscot Community Health Center and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be reaching out to Maine's underserved children through the co-sponsorship of the Miles for Smiles oral health program.
Miles for Smiles will provide access to oral health services for Maine children who are up to 18 years of age, do not have private dental insurance and meet certain income guidelines. The program will focus on the state's most critically underserved areas, with a 43-foot-long mobile clinic that will visit Pittsfield, Dover-Foxcroft, Millinocket, Presque Isle and Native American reservations for week-long stays on a rotating schedule, starting in November.
The Miles for Smiles van is scheduled to be in Dover-Foxcroft the second week in November and will be located in the Mayo Regional Hospital upper parking lot. Mayo will be providing space and electrical hookup at no charge to the program.
The program will deliver comprehensive oral health services, including preventive and restorative care performed by licensed oral health professionals traveling with the mobile clinic. Miles for Smiles will also provide case management and referral services for ongoing treatment, offer early oral health education and promote the development of healthy habits, and increase awareness of the importance of good oral health through a community awareness campaign.
Specific services to be offered in the fully equipped, oral health clinic on wheels will include dental screenings, oral health education, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, examinations, sealants, fillings, root canals, extractions and case management.
Maine has a severe shortage of oral health professionals, with only 589 dentists actively practicing and only 445 practicing general dentistry. One-third of Maine's kindergarten students have been diagnosed with tooth decay -- a preventable disease.
More information on the Miles for Smiles program is available from Kevin Kelley at the Penobscot Community Health Center in Bangor, 945-5247.
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