College of Dental Medicine helping to ease Maine’s dentist shortage

Last year 63 students graduated from UNE’s College of Dental Medicine (CDM). Thirty-five of those graduates stayed in New England to practice, including 18 who remained in Maine.

“Ten years ago, the statistics showed there were only three to five Mainers in dental schools anywhere in the country, at any given time,” Jon Ryder, dean of the CDM told WGME. “Clearly there is an access issue, which is why we built the dental school here in the first place.”

Audra Boynton, D.M.D., lead dentist at Kennebec Valley Family Dentistry (KVFD) in Augusta, was part of the graduating class of 2018. Initially a dental hygienist, she waited three years for UNE’s CDM to open in 2013.

“The wait was worth it,” she explained to WGME. “One of the biggest differences between UNE and other programs is senior year is taken up almost exclusively with externships.”

The externships place students with dentists in rural areas for several rotations. Boynton took part in two externships while at UNE.

This semester Boynton has been a mentor to student Kailee Williams (Dental Medicine, ’19) who is wrapping up her externship at KVFD.

“I’ve always been interested in and focused on a career in public health,” Williams told WGME. “It was a huge part of why I chose UNE.”

Williams already has a job lined up after graduation. This summer she will start work as a dentist at the Waterville Community Dental Clinic in Waterville, Maine.

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