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A New Helping Hand

A New Helping HandThrough a new partnership, dental students at Tufts will help treat low income patients at a New Hampshire hospital. Laconia, NH.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.22.01] While thousands of patients have been treated at the Lakes Region General Hospital's dental center, the waiting list for care can be over a year in length. But a new partnership with Tufts' School of Dental Medicine may change that, as students will travel to New Hampshire to help treat the hospital's low income patients.

"With the first two students set to begin work in September, the dental center plans to install four more chairs, adding to the four it already has," reported the New Hampshire Concord Monitor.

The partnership with the nation's second-largest dental school comes at an important time for many of the town's low-income patients.

"The community doesn't have enough dentists who take Medicaid," said one of the hospital's administrators.

The extra expertise from Tufts will help patients get the care they need more quickly.

"Dental care for the uninsured can be time-consuming because children often do not get regular examinations, leading to severe problems when they get older," reported the Monitor. "For patients who haven't had a check-up in several years, it can take four hours just to get their teeth fully cleaned."

The experience is also invaluable for the students.

Frank Susi, DMD PhD, senior associate dean of the Tufts School of Dental Medicine and director of the Dental Externship Program, said the new partnership provides a good training environment.

"They practice dentistry in a setting that is very similar to private practice," Susi explained.

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