As expressed so well in the Nov. 14 editorial, “Our View: Dentists sound alarm on our broken system,” Mainers need access to affordable dental care.

For the past 18 years Waterville Community Dental Center, one of the handful of safety net dental centers in Maine, has been providing dental services to those in our community least able to afford it. We have provided a full range of dental care to more than 14,000 central Maine residents; 75 percent of these are children.

Dental disease causes pain and suffering and it also negatively impacts overall health, wellbeing, self-esteem, and ability to work or succeed in school. It is a preventable disease. Yet it remains the number one illness of children, 5 times more common than asthma. Safety net centers like WCDC are critical resources in the restoration of good oral health to our community.

Earlier this year we learned WCDC would need to relocate from our office on Main Street to make room for the new arts center being planned. We are supportive of the revitalization of downtown, but this posed a tremendous challenge — how could we save this critically important community resource? We’ve worked tirelessly in the last six months to find a new location and to work to secure the $1.2 million we need to continue operating. Through the incredible support of major partners here in central Maine and beyond, we are proud to say we are now just $100,000 away from that goal. It is financially challenging to provide these services and it is vitally important that we go into the new location with little to no debt.

As the holidays approach, please consider giving the gift of a happy, healthy smile. We hope you’ll agree that the children in our community deserve at least that.

Daniel L’Heureux

board member, WCDC


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