Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maine doctors do teeth, too

A story by Katie Zezima in today's New York Times tells of a new program in Maine for training medical residents to provide dental services. This is necessary because of the shortage of dentists in the state, which has one dentist for every 2,300 residents, while the national average is 1 for every 1,600 residents. The shortage is especially acute in rural areas, where many young dentists do not wish to live and work. Here's an excerpt from the story.
In Maine, training physicians in dentistry provides a dental safety net for the rural poor who have never had one, doctors and dentists said. About two-thirds of the residents who have trained at the dental clinic now practice in the state, many in rural areas.
The story notes that similar programs have been (or are being) instituted in New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, and North Carolina--all states with significant rural populations.

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