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A Cecil County health center is taking over a dental clinic from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in an effort to keep the services available to residents of rural communities.

The West Cecil Health Center, Inc. will own and operate the clinic under the arrangement. The health center received a $325,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission to help run the clinic located in Perryville.

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The school of dentistry opened the dental clinic in 2009. Clinic administrators relied on volunteer dentists and hygienists to staff it, which the school found was not a sustainable business model.

The dental facility will serve as a clinical teaching site for the dentistry school. A ribbon cutting will be held at the clinic Tuesday.

"This innovative, new partnership will enable the University of Maryland School of Dentistry's faculty and students to continue offering much-needed, high-quality oral health care for the community," Dr. Mark A. Reynolds, dean and professor at the dental school, said in a statement. "I am delighted that the School of Dentistry is part of a collaboration that will provide continued access to dental care in this highly valued community."

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