Maryland health center receives $100K to develop dental project for recovering addicts

Dentists

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Maryland Area Health Education Center West is launching a dental access project for recovering addicts, using a two-year $100,000 grant to expand existing oral healthcare services, according to the American Dental Association.

The grant, given by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, will go toward enlisting partner agencies and providers to treat patients recovering from drug addictions.

Jordan Hobel, DDS, a Frostburg, Md., dentist involved in the program, estimates half of his patients are currently struggling or have previously struggled with addiction.

Only addicts who have been clean for nine months or more will be eligible, said Susan Stewart, AHEC West executive director. Clients will be assigned a community health worker, who will provide education on oral health and refer clients to a dentist, if necessary.

Dental services offered will include fillings and extractions and may involve other procedures, such as dentures or partials.

Many counties in Maryland are designated dental professional shortage areas, according to Ms. Stewart. "Without this program, most potential participants will simply do without needed dental care, aggravating existing conditions and undermining overall health and threatening their recovery."

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