Media Archive

Miles for Smiles Coming to Dover

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 37, September 10, 2003

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT Help is on the way for parents who have had difficulty finding affordable dental care for their children.

Beginning the second week in November, a 43-foot mobile dental center will spend a week each month parked at Mayo Regional Hospital. The unit, equipped with 3 dentist chairs and state-of-the-art equipment, will serve low-income children who do not have access to dental care. A dentist, oral hygienist, dentist's assistant, and a case worker will deliver all the basic services, such as cleanings and examinations, usually offered in a dentist's office.

The program, formed from a partnership between Anthem Blue Croos and Blue Shield and Penobscot Community Health Center, will accept MaineCare insurance, and also will have subsidies available for those without MaineCare. Those eligible must be 18 years of age or younger, fit within certain income guidelines, and be without private dental insurance.

'This is something that is basically no charge for these children and adolescents," said Jack Fuller, a representative from the Miles for Smiles program who spoke Monday night to the Dover-Foxcroft Board of

Board member Tom Lizotte, who is also an administrator at Mayo, said that many MaineCare recipients have trouble finding a dentist who is able to take their insurance.

MaineCare only reimburses a percentage of the cost to the dentist, he said, so many dental health professionals have their hands tied. He welcomed the new program.

"I think it is a wonderful thing for Piscataquis County," he said. "It is heartbreaking when you get a call from a parent who has called around to every dentist and just can't find someone who takes MaineCare."

The mobile unit will spend the rest of the month rotating between Houlton, Presque Isle and Millinocket before returning to Dover-Foxcroft for the second week of each month. For more information on Miles for Smiles, call the Penobscot Community Health Center at 945-5247 ext. 411.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.