Maine dentists provide millions of dollars of free and reduced-cost treatment to Maine citizens annually. And, despite MaineCare reimbursements that do not even cover the cost of treatment, a higher percentage of Maine dentists participate in the Medicaid program than in many other states.
General dentists, oral surgeons and other specialists volunteer at free clinics in Bath and Portland, and dentists in Knox County volunteer treatment through referrals from a local medical clinic. Many dentists participate in a program known as “Donated Dental Services,” providing free care to qualifying elderly or handicapped patients.
In the Lewiston-Auburn area, dentists offer free care every year during “Dentists with a Heart” Day. Thousands of dollars of free treatment is provided to local citizens.
Dentists in the Bath-Brunswick area do volunteer dental screenings of every first-grader; and in Orono, dentists volunteer at the Special Smiles project during the Special Olympics.
While that kind of volunteer work is organized, much more pro bono work is done quietly, in dentists’ offices all across the state, without fanfare. Maine dentists are very proud of their exemplary reputation for providing excellent care, regardless of payment, and are proud of their many volunteer contributions.
Dr. Kristina Lake’s guest column (April 25) points out the need for the state of Maine to do its part and raise the woefully inadequate MaineCare fees to a level that will allow even more dentists to participate.
The MDA urges such action.

Frances Miliano, Manchester
Executive director, Maine Dental Association

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