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More dental care providers in Rutland hope to meet high demand post-pandemic

A drawing of a dentist taking care of a patient sitting in a dentist's office
Many people pushed off dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, demand is growing.

Routine — and sometimes urgent — dental care was put on the back burner by a lot of patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the Vermont Department of Health found that nearly one-third of Vermont adults did not access the dental care system yearly. During COVID-19, these rates dropped nationwide, and were slow to recover.

Now, in Vermont, the demand is growing again. In Rutland and Addison counties, the need is being met with increased staff at Community Health in Rutland.

The dental health center says it now has eight dentists on staff including a part-time endodontist to perform root canals.

The news is being celebrated by the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury, a free health service for uninsured and under-insured adults in Addison County.

Fernanda Canales is the clinic's dental director, and says the new capacity for patients at Community Health should help with some of the overflow they've had at Open Door Clinic.

"Our program runs basically one day a week, you know, we have a dental clinic one day a week, and I have a five page waiting list of patients who are looking for appointments."

Canales says neglecting routine dental care can lead to more serious health issues, including heart ailments.

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A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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