Group dental practices continue to fill Maine’s dental deficit

As GDN has previously reported, people in Maine lack access to affordable dental care.  In many cases, the emergency room is the closest and most feasible access to care for a toothache. According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, 55 percent of children covered by MaineCare aren’t getting regular dental care. One way to improve preventative care and decrease visits to the emergency room is to increase the number of dental providers.

Driving Maine’s increasing need for medical care professionals is its aging population.  Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information reports that, “Nearly one third of Maine’s dentists are above 60 years old. Nationally, 20 percent are above 60.”

Group dental practices are addressing the dental needs of Maine’s aging population. Large DSOs have begun to fill the dental health professional shortage areas (designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) But, it is not only the large DSOs that are trying to fill the deficit of dental providers in Maine. Jin Hwang DMD, who started Gentle Dental PC of Maine, has been growing his group of practices steadily since 2007.  Dr. Hwang, a graduate of Clark University and Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine, came to the U.S. from South Korea when he was 9 years old.  While visiting Maine, he fell in love with the state and recognized their need for dental care. He moved there in 2007 to address that need. Ten years later, Dr. Hwang is opening his eighth practice, Advanced Family Dentistry, in Portland, ME, and he employs nine dentists.

Sources:  MaineBiz, Gentle Dental of Maine, Market Wired, PRNewswire, Portland Press Herald, Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, Maine’s Department of Labor