MACHIAS – There is a partnership in town bringing smiles to people in Washington County and they’ve been doing it for almost a decade.
“We’re here providing dental care to the community at no out of pocket cost,” said Marissa Swanson, program administrator for the Global Outreach Team. “So we have a full pediatric clinic as well as a full adult clinic, which covers the entire range of care that you’ll need to receive. “
“This is my 12th trip up to Machias, Maine over the last 10 years,” said Dr. Stuart Hirsch, vice dean at New York University College of Dentistry. “It has been an incredible experience for all of us to work within the community.”
Improvements have been documented.
“We have had a large, significant decrease in cavities in the children,” Hirsch said. “It’s going from almost 40 percent prevalence to under 20 percent.”
He said the decrease is thanks to the oral health coordinator for the Washington County Children’s Program who works with the region’s schools providing preventative care throughout the year.
Dentists and senior dental students at NYU and the county children’s program are conducting their 12th annual Dental Outreach.
“This collaboration with NYU is a week-long event that’s held annually every April,” said Teresa Alley, the oral health coordinator. “We will serve hundreds of children and adults.”
It’s a first-come, first-served clinic at the Lee Pellon Event Center, located at 90 Main St., for those having trouble accessing dental care. Wednesday is the long day, with doors open 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Thursday the clinic is closed, but it will reopen Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and the Saturday hours are 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
“This program has touched the lives of over 2,000 adults. Over 1,800 children have come through the program since our beginning in 2010,” Alley said.
Folks from Arise Addiction Recovery are some who have taken advantage of the program.
“It was helpful yesterday, they saw four of our residents and today they’re seeing another one,” said director Paul Trovarello, who added members also helped with setting up.
The program benefits the doctors as much as the local residents.
“Eye opening,” is how Hirsch described it. “They get to realize New York is really not the center of the universe. In fact, Machias is much closer to reality than New York City.”