AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill sponsored by Maine House Speaker Mark Eves would address an impending shortage of dentists and lack of dental care in the state.
The bill from the North Berwick Democrat would establish a license for mid-level dental hygiene therapists to provide limited oral care focused on prevention.
Maine has a shortage of dental care in 15 counties, resulting in high-cost emergency room visits. Eves says Maine’s dental shortage is a crisis that can’t be ignored because it has far-reaching effects for children and adults.
Eves cites studies that show that 55 percent of Maine children lack access to dental care.
A co-sponsor of the bill is Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, a retired dental hygienist.
A public hearing on the bill will be held in the weeks ahead.
(Note: one of the points I spoke of was the percentage of dentists NOT taking Medicaid (78.3 %). If we don’t, as a professional, demonstrate more intention to be a part of the solution, we automatically become part of the problem.)