Maine may get first dental school

The University of New England is working with lawmakers in Maine to secure a $5 million bond package that would enable the university to create Maine's first dental school, according to news reports.

University officials reportedly have been talking about establishing a dental school for several years, but this is the first time they have gone to the state capitol to talk directly to legislators about the need for their support, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Maine has a shortage of dentists, with roughly one dentist per 3,400 residents, according to the university. The average U.S. ratio is one dentist per 1,700 people.

The school would be based at the university's Portland campus and would be the only dental school in northern New England. The estimated start-up cost is $20 million, according to officials.

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