Later this week, the Maine Health and Human Services Committee will debate a proposed $7 million bond issue that would help The University of New England (UNE) build the region's only dental school. The creation of a new dental college is necessary to meet the growing need for qualified dentists in the local area, say supporters of the legislation.
Approximately $5 million of the money raised by the bond issue will be used to build a dental clinic where students can attain hands-on experience while giving back to the local community. The rest of the funding will go toward expanding dental services and clinical rotations for enrolled students at participating non-profit clinics, the Bangor Daily News reports.
"Right now young people are going to emergency rooms for dental care, and it's costing 10 times what it would cost if we had dental care available to them," said UNE president Danielle Ripich, quoted by MPBN.com. "So it's really an investment that we think needs to be made for the state."
According to the federal government, there are parts of Maine where there is only one dentist for every 5,000 residents. In contrast, the national average is approximately one dentist for every 1,700 people.
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