Rural communities in New England may have more dentists in the years to come.
The University of New England recently opened the first dental school in northern New England. This will fill a large void for an area that previously had to look to Boston for the nearest dental school.
Based on the rural nature of northern New England, it was difficult to entice dentists to open a practice in those areas. But if more people in the area have the opportunity to become a dentist, that trend could be reversed.
Studies have shown that when people in Maine or the rest of northern New England leave the area to study dentistry, they generally don’t come back.
The University of New England facilities will include a simulation clinic and a state-of-the-art 70-chair dental clinic. Maine voters made way for the dental school after a $5 million bond passed three years ago.
When the college is in its fourth year of existence, the goal is for 12,000 to 15,000 patients to be served in Portland. The goal will be for another 20,000 to 25,000 in the community network to be served.
The school will possess 24 students from 11 counties and 20 towns in Maine in its first year. There will be five students from New Hampshire, four from Vermont and 16 combined from the rest of the United States and Canada.