In the world of nonprofit organizations, some shine brightly, making a significant impact on the communities they serve. One such organization is Mainely Teeth, a nonprofit dental clinic based in the state of Maine. Their mission: provide quality dental care to the uninsured and underinsured populations throughout Maine, with a focus on pediatrics and special needs patients.
Breaking Down Barriers and Expanding Access to Care
Amber Lombardi, RDH, founded Mainely Teeth in 2020, a year that brought unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, she had been providing mobile dentistry services, primarily focused on school-based work. However, the outbreak of the pandemic magnified the need for mobile dental care, particularly among the uninsured and underinsured, pediatric, and special needs populations across the state.
Driven by her passion for improving dental healthcare access, Amber took a bold step by creating Mainely Teeth’s mobile dental clinic. In the three years since its inception, Mainely Teeth has grown exponentially, and has now expanded to have brick-and-mortar spaces across the state and several partnerships with organizations to deliver care in unconventional settings.
The Role of Teledentistry in Their Journey
In 2018, well before the pandemic, Amber was approached by the Children’s Oral Health Network of Maine with an opportunity to help develop a teledentistry pilot program for the state. With limited resources and growing demand, Amber knew that Mainely Teeth needed a teledentistry solution that would improve access to dental care and streamline the patient journey as they provide care in nontraditional settings throughout the state.
After trying out other teledentistry solutions, Mainely Teeth discovered TeleDent, MouthWatch’s teledentistry platform, and found that it met their needs, significantly enhanced their workflow, and eliminated access barriers. It has empowered them to further extend their services to patients who previously had limited access to dental care. Using TeleDent, team members can effortlessly access patient records, engage with patients remotely, securely share documentation with families, promptly address urgent cases, and efficiently refer patients to specialists. This comprehensive approach ensures that every patient receives high-quality dental care, wherever they are.
A Clearer View for Patients and Providers
Mainely Teeth has seamlessly incorporated MouthWatch intraoral cameras into its standard care protocol. Whether delivering services in unconventional settings like cafeterias, classrooms, or their mobile clinic, Mainely Teeth ensures that intraoral photos are taken for every patient. Many of these individuals have grown up in a cycle of poverty and have never had access to dental care. The introduction of these photos has been truly transformative, as patients are often seeing a comprehensive view of their oral health for the very first time. This newfound perspective empowers patients to take charge of their oral health and be motivated to follow through with recommended treatments. MouthWatch Intraoral Cameras have also bolstered their ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with other healthcare providers and specialists. This streamlined communication ensures timely referrals and coordinated care for the numerous patients they serve who lack a dental home.
Amber’s advice to other dental practices considering integrating technology like MouthWatch intraoral cameras is straightforward: get these cameras into the hands of hygienists. They are the prevention specialists who see patients regularly and can leverage visual aids to enhance patient education. From there, the possibilities are endless.
With the help of intraoral cameras and teledentistry, Mainely Teeth is transforming lives and giving patients across Maine a chance at better oral health. The team at MouthWatch extends our heartfelt thanks to Amber Lombardi for sharing her inspiring story, and we look forward to witnessing the continued success of Mainely Teeth as the team opens its new clinic and continues to serve vulnerable populations across the state.