Delaney Continues to Expand Dental Services in Calais

Dr. Brad Woodford of Bangor Braces (left) will be the first dental specialist to travel to Washington County when he begins offering his services from Karen Delaney's office in April. (Submitted photo)

By Lura Jackson

 

Calais is rapidly becoming a destination for dental care, an evolution that has taken place largely thanks to the opening of Karen Delaney’s office on South Street. The office – which, when it opened three years ago, was the most up-to-date dental facility in the state – will soon be hosting the only dental specialist in Washington County: Orthodontist Brad Woodford. Woodford represents Delaney’s first step into offering specialized services from her office, though it likely won’t be her last.

“I’m trying to not only provide services myself, but if it’s a service I can’t provide, I’m trying to recruit a specialist that can,” Delaney said. Along with orthodontics, Delaney is aiming at securing a pediatrics specialist. Specialists receive additional years of training beyond the four years of school required to become a dentist.

“In both cases, I’m referring people out of the office every week,” Delaney explained, emphasizing the high need for both kinds of work. “I brought in Brad first, and now I’m working on a pediatric dentist.”

Delaney contacted Woodford three months ago to see if he would be interested in traveling to the area to see patients. “He’s very energetic,” Delaney said of Woodford. “I’m energetic, but this guy is me doubled over. He’s very high energy, very positive, very kind, and very patient. Together, we’ll be treating both children and adults.” Woodford, originally from Arizona, operates Bangor Braces, which is the leading provider of Invisalign braces in the state.

Woodford is passionate about helping people attain straight teeth and recognizes the difficulty that individuals living in rural communities face with reaching and affording appropriate care. It didn’t take him long to agree to be a part of Delaney’s specialist team. “Once I visited her office and met her exceptional staff, it was evident that traveling with my staff to Calais would work without the significant challenges usually present with opening a separate office with high overhead and only utilizing it on a very part time basis,” Woodford said. He sees the opportunity as an ideal one to make sure he is doing his part to “make sure that as many people as possible had the opportunity to have straight teeth and a great smile.”

To begin with, Woodford will be traveling to Calais every six weeks, increasing his frequency if the need is present. He will be visiting on Fridays and Saturdays to better accommodate patient availability, with April 21st being his first day on-site. So far, the response has been very positive, Delaney shares.

“We have gotten a positive response both on the patient side and the practitioner side. Other practitioners have reached out wanting information on the new services we’ve been providing, and there’s already a waiting list of patients.”

Being able to offer “everything related to orthodontics” will further round out Delaney’s already-extensive patient-friendly offerings, which include oral surgery, x-ray equipment that does not require a fixture to be held in the mouth to function, clear braces installment and servicing, and on-site production of crowns and bridges made the same day of the patient’s visit. Having such a wide variety of services is a deliberate choice on Delaney’s part, as it was the lack of availability of dental services that first drew her to this area.

“I found this area because the United States government had just named Washington County as the second-most needy place in the country for dental services,” Delaney explained. While Alaska was technically more in need, Delaney’s family agreed that Washington County would be a better choice, and the family arrived here three years ago with a goal of meeting the high need.

Initially, Delaney operated out of Dr. William Gould’s former office; in October of 2016, she moved into a former vacant residence on South Street after fully remodeling it into a top-of-the-line facility with multiple operatories. “We spared no expense. I had one chance to get it right,” Delaney said.

Now, Delaney employs three hygienists, two assistants, and two office staff, and aims to continue practicing from the location for at least two decades. The response from the community has been favorable, and she adds new patients to her list on a regular basis – something that will undoubtedly continue as she secures more specialists to meet the area’s needs.