November 14, 2019
During the week of Veterans Day, the University of New England’s Department of Dental Hygiene provided military veterans with discounted teeth cleanings for just $20, along with free dental exams and fluoride treatments.
“There are a number of veterans that are not able to access dental care through their benefits,” stated Marji Harmer-Beem, M.S., director of UNE’s Dental Hygiene program. “We're happy to invite veterans to our clinic for the discounted care.”
In order to qualify for full dental coverage, veterans must be 100% disabled, have been a prisoner of war, or have developed a dental condition during their service. As a result, many veterans have difficulty accessing oral health care.
Navy veteran David Barber of Durham was looking for a way to provide veterans with affordable care, so he contacted UNE.
“I kept hearing about the University of New England, and I thought maybe we can prioritize veterans and get a day of discounted dental care,” he explained. “As a disabled veteran myself, I understand how challenging it can be for veterans to navigate the health care system. UNE does so much to increase access to oral health care throughout the state.”
UNE students who are training to become dental hygienists provided the treatment under the supervision of faculty.
“The students are very thorough,” commented Caidra Bennett, I.P.D.H., B.S., clinical instructor in the Dental Hygiene Program. “We have faculty here checking on the students. The students are graded on certain requirements depending on what the patient presents.”
The event was featured on "NEWS CENTER Maine."
"Offers like this are really helpful to keep my dental health in check," Air Force veteran Brenda Fizur told "NEWS CENTER Maine."
UNE provides oral health care to people throughout Maine and Northern New England through a variety of programs. The Department of Dental Hygiene provides care at greatly reduced rates for approximately 5,000 patients of all ages every year.
Since the College of Dental Medicine opened in 2013, there have been approximately 62,000 patient visits to its Oral Health Center, and UNE students are treating patients at 16 different clinical sites across Maine through its externship program.