MILLINOCKET (NEWS CENTER Maine) A program that gives dental students an opportunity to practice at dental clinics is helping keep some of those dentists in rural Maine

25 fourth year students from the University of New England College of Dental Medicine are practicing under the supervision of a licensed dentist in clinics in Maine and other Northern New England states.

Dr. CJ Castonguay did his 'externship' at the Katahdin Valley Health Center in Millinocket. Earlier this summer he was hired as hired to replace a longtime dentist who left the center a year ago.

Dr. Castonguay who summered at his parent's cabin in the Millinocket area as a youngster -- says he wanted to practice in the community because of a large number of patients who need access to dental care. He says being able to get 'hands-on experience' is also key.

“Sending students to all these areas to learn what it’s like to out here, you are going to get more people coming back -- they are going to be like, I like the area,” said Dr. Castonguay.

Of the 2018 UNE Dental School's graduating class of 63 students, 18 dentists are planning to practice in Maine.