The Star-Herald

Organizations plan free dental clinics in Houlton and Fort Fairfield

HOULTON and FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — Aid For Kids and United Way of Aroostook, in partnership with Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center and the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, will offer free dental clinics for Aroostook County families in Houlton on June 11 and 12, and Fort Fairfield on June 14 and 15.

This is the third year that all four organizations will partner for dental clinics in Aroostook County. Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center is based in Ellsworth and operates the largest mobile dental program in the state that gives people in rural areas of eastern and northern Maine access to crucial dental care services. Dr. Timothy Oh partners with the University of Connecticut to give dental students real-life experiences with clients and to expose them to areas of Maine where dental care is often not readily available.

“After expanding their traveling services to northern Mane, Caring Hands of Maine partnered with United Way of Aroostook and Aid For Kids to expand their reach to people in Aroostook County,” said Sherry Locke, executive director for United Way of Aroostook.

Students from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine set up for their annual clinic at the Fort Fairfield Recreation Center on June 6, 2017. Aid for Kids and United Way of Aroostook are partnering this year with the Ellsworth-based Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center and the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine to host free dental clinics in Houlton on June 11 and 12 and Fort Fairfield on June 14 and 15.
(Courtesy of United Way of Aroostook)

The free dental clinics will provide services such as cleanings, fillings, sealants and extractions for both children and adults. Although there are no income qualifications, the clinics will aim to serve some of Aroostook County’s most vulnerable populations.

“There are so many families who either cannot afford dental insurance or are unable to regularly go to the dentist because MaineCare does not provide dental coverage for adults,” Locke said. “We have one man coming to the clinic who has not seen a dentist for 20 years. Stories like that show how much of a need there is for dental care in this region.”

Local dentists also will be on hand in hopes of establishing connections with clients who wish to seek further dental care after the clinic. Dr. Oh will bring 12 students from the University of Connecticut as well as two dentists from Caring Hands of Maine to the Aroostook County clinics.

“We hope that taking part in the clinic will help those students see the need for dental care in Aroostook County and maybe even inspire them to start their own practices in the area,” Locke said.

People are encouraged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible by calling Caring Hands of Maine at 667-6789. After their initial call, Caring Hands of Maine will schedule a follow-up phone conversation to go over any necessary health information. Clients will register on the day of the clinics and all medical information will be kept confidential.

Dental clinics will be held at Rollerama of Houlton at 494 North Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 11 and 12 and at the Fort Fairfield Recreation Center at 18 Community Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 14 and 15. For more information, contact United Way of Aroostook at (207) 764-5197.

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