Summer Camp Lets Teens Explore Dental Careers

Free camp teaches teens how to drill and fill

Dental Careers Exploration Camp

They may have plenty of lobsters, but the state of Maine is running out of dentists. And the shortage is so severe a free summer camp has been set up to get teens hooked on dentistry.

Dental Careers Exploration Camp in Portland is free to parents of the 13 teens who were selected to attend to learn more about career opportunities, reports NECN. The camp is designed to serve as a feeder system for the University of New England's new College of Dental Medicine. The need is real since the average age of a dentist in the state is 55, with one for every 2,000 residents.

While their friends swim and hike, dental campers are learning to take x-rays, make teeth impressions, and suture gum tissue using raw chicken breasts. There's also plenty of drilling and filling.

During the work, the dentists share what it's like to be a dental student.

"Historically Northern New England - Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire - have had the lowest number of applicants to dental schools in the country," Dr. Jeffrey Doss, an oral surgeon and faculty member told NECN's Amy Sinclair in Portland.

Among the skills required are biomedical science, good hand skills and a way with people.

"It's a true art form to restore someone's mouth," Dr. Lionel Vachon, assistant dean for the college of medicine, told NECN.

The problem of extreme dental shortages is not limited to Maine, as AOL Jobs has reported.

According to The Health Resources and Services Administration, there are 48.7 million Americans who live in areas with dental-care shortages.

Lawmakers in Kansas, New Mexico, and Vermont seek to create an entirely new kind of dental provider -- a "dental therapist" or "registered dental practitioner" -- who stands somewhere between dentist and dental hygienist. The new providers would be allowed to perform simple procedures, like filling cavities and extracting children's primary teeth.

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I am 70 years old and still have all of my natural teeth. For many years I have flossed every night and I brush one to 2 times daily. When I worked I would brush my teeth after eating. When I was a kid my mother made sure I brushed my teeth. It is a no brainer. I go to the dentist every 6 months for a teeth cleaning. This also helps in preventing small problems becoming big one's. I have 13 crowns over the years and this has helped me keep teeth that would otherwise be pulled.

August 06 2014 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if you think about it, dentistry is one of the only profession dedicated to putting itself out of business. we have been telling people for more than a century to brush and floss. does anyone listen? barely anyone. then they complain when they are told they have cavities, gum disease, etc. this should not be surprising. how many people stick to a low carb/ low fat diet? sure, maybe a few, but the hospitals are filled with those who think they don't have to eat healthily. same for smoking. everyone knows it is bad, and yet the tobacco insustry still rakes in billions. until people start to take responsibilty for their own wellbeing, you can only expect more of the same old grind.

August 05 2014 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dentists should start in high school and go to a trade school for the rest. We waste too much time making everyone get a four year degree when all they really need is a technical school.

August 05 2014 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment

In reality it is 3 or 4 years of undergraduate college and then another 4 years of dental school. Add and additional year or two if specializing.

August 06 2014 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These comments are sad and the "usual" for comments on the generic internet.

"We are all morons talking off the top of our head. Great speeches take deep thought, much homework, and practice, practice."

Famous lawyer Roy Black.

(And why EVERY American is guaranteed a lawyer if/when arrested.....)

August 05 2014 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Might give those high school students a course in finance. They're going to need it to pay the giant debt they will incur during their 4 years in dental school.

August 05 2014 at 5:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"a way with people" yes you need to ask stupid questions when you just hit a nerve!!!

August 05 2014 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SPQR's comment


August 05 2014 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just give work visas to chinese, colombians, vietnamese, Indians, anunoe who has some money ..if not let the government set them with tax dollars...we have trillions of them !!!@!!!!!!

August 05 2014 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SPQR's comment

How come Obama didn't force better dental care ????? and cheaper

August 05 2014 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope these students are getting the latest toxicity data on fluoride- It is poisonous and unnecessary!
FLUORIDATION: CEASE AND DESIST (1/7) (2014 Documentary)

August 05 2014 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to justoldog's comment

you need to shut up and stop practicing medicine without a MD. Got that? Just shut up. People have their own brain No one but you needs your brain.

August 05 2014 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

bozo. ancecdotal, not scientific evidence

August 05 2014 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gee your talking horror and torture now. I know my visits have been. And they can't come up with something better than horror and torture?

August 05 2014 at 3:18 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savannahswithgod's comment

why is it you did not take care of your teeth when you were younger? older people rarely get cavities. older people need to worry about gingivitis. if youbrush 3-4 times a day especially before bedtime you will always have very nice natural looking teeth. I am72 on November 1.. i have all my own teeth and they look nice i am proud of them too ..many people dont brush often enough. I will add, coffee and tobacco are not good for teeth.

August 05 2014 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

About 98% of all dental issues can be prevented. Cavities are not caused by sugar. What ? Yep, cavities are caused by streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that eats sugar and creates tooth eating acid.
Gingivitus is not caused by tartar. Gingivitus is caused by the 50 or so different kinds of bacteria that live in tartar.
You can kill all of these contagious bacterium by gargling with regular listerine twice a day.
I know it tastes terrible, but you'll get used to it. Avoid brands like Crest which contain sorbitol - S. mutans eats sorbitol. A combination of regular brushing, flossing with a water pik (it gets most of the plac), and gargling with listerine will prevent most dental problems not only saving you money, but drilling pain too.

August 05 2014 at 3:08 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to alfredschrader's comment

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