BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A group of volunteers spent nearly two years organizing and raising money to open the doors of the Dental Wellness Center. The new center is affiliated with the Biddeford Free Clinic and will help fill a great need in the community.
"I don't know what the percentage is of people who are not insured, but I can tell you that the folks that we see, many of them haven't been to a dentist in years because they work, but they just don't have jobs that have any kind of insurance," said Jay Beauchemin, DDS, Dental Director of the Wellness Center.
"I am amazed at how many people who have stepped up and said I want to help out," he added. "I think right now we have about 80 volunteers from dentists to hygienists to assistants helping out."
"It was a bit of a challenge, I mean, we had to raise large amounts of money in a tough economy, but there is a lot of need out there and a lot of people saw that need," said Joseph Kenneally, DMD, President of the York County Dental Society. "A lot of them have had good dentistry in the past and they have just lost their jobs, they didn't have insurance and they couldn't afford to go. Some haven't been seen in 15 or 20 years."
The clinic is different from most in that it will serve patient needs from cleanings to extractions and even offer some denture services. "We have some preventative services with the hygienists. We do some periodontal treatment. We have the capacity to do a root canal. There is a fair amount of extractions and fillings. There is no crown and bridge or veneers or aesthetic, cosmetic types of dentistry," said Kenneally.
"If someone just has, say just one bad front tooth, you know if you have to take that out because they can't afford to get that repaired the proper way, then being able to replace it, even if it is something as simple as an acrylic partial denture, to replace that one missing tooth can go a long way to bring back a lot of self-esteem," said Beauchemin.
The free clinics will be held twice a month in the evenings at Community Dental's facility at 57 Barra Road in Biddeford. The clinic is by appointment only and will be held on the first Tuesday and third Thursday of each month. To get an appointment, people need to become patients at the Biddeford Free Clinic which is located in the old high school on Alfred Street. You can find more information on the Biddeford Free Clinic by clicking here.