People in Dewsbury who are finding it difficult to access dental care have been receiving free treatment from a mobile dental unit operated by the charity Dentaid. More than 150 people have already attended the unit that is visiting schools, community centres and public buildings. The project has been funded by Kirklees Council which awarded Dentaid a £7,060 grant.
The mobile dental unit, staffed by volunteers, also visited Mirfield Community Centre, Dewsbury Town Hall and Chickenley Community Centre. The team has seen up to 30 patients a day and extracted around 100 painful teeth. They have also seen children in dental pain including one who had to be referred for multiple extractions under general anaesthetic.
The clinics are providing emergency pain relieving treatments including extractions and fillings along with oral health advice and teeth screening. Treatments are free and people just turn up and wait to be seen. Some patients have been arriving in tears due to excruciating dental pain and leaving with smiles on their faces following treatment.
It follows a pilot project in Dewsbury, launched in December 2015, which provided dental care for 150 people over seven months. Some of those patients had developed dental problems while they were on a dentist’s waiting list and others were vulnerable people who found it hard to access regular treatment.
More than a year after the pilot project finished there are still reports of two year waiting lists to register with an NHS dentist in Dewsbury. Local MP Paula Sherriff, who has raised concerns about access to dental care in the constituency in parliament, has also visited the clinic.
“The beauty of the mobile dental unit is that we can take a dental service right to the people who need it most,” said Dentaid CEO Andrew Evans. “We understand there are many reasons why people might not be able to access dental treatment and we want to help people out of immediate pain before offering them advice about accessing regular dental care.”