PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Several thousand mentally and intellectually disabled people could lose their dental care if proposed cuts to the state's two year budget are approved.

The governor's budget calls for eliminating the $800,000-a-year dental program, which operates out of the clinic on Preble Street.

All of the clinic's patients receive MaineCare. The program does not cover routine dentistry, but the clinic bills MaineCare because it is considered part of the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

Several hundred of the patients have to be put under sedation to be treated. Patients who rely on the clinic for its specialized dental care say they'll have to go to the emergency room for treatment if the clinic closes.

"Going without means a lot more cavities that don't get addressed and developing into nerve problems," said patient Triesti Russell.

The legislature could vote on the proposed budget later this month.

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