Hundreds attend mobile dentist at Dewsbury sessions - 150 in first week

Volunteers at the Dentaid mobile dental unit which has been in Dewsbury, Mirfield and Chickenley
Volunteers at the Dentaid mobile dental unit which has been in Dewsbury, Mirfield and Chickenley

More than 150 people who had been unable to access NHS dental treatment in the Dewsbury area have been successfully dealt with or given referrals by a mobile unit.

The seven-day project began when 21 people received pain relieving dental treatment at a clinic held at Pentland Infant School.

Philip Rushforth in the chair

Philip Rushforth in the chair

The first patient, Phillip Rushforth, had five teeth extracted after suffering weeks of dental pain that was preventing him sleeping.

He said he had been unable to register with an NHS dentist in the town.

The mobile dental unit has 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.

Nick O'Donovan examines Kirklees Councillor Rosheen Dad

Nick O'Donovan examines Kirklees Councillor Rosheen Dad

The clinics provided emergency pain relieving treatments including extractions and fillings along with oral health advice and teeth screening.

The treatments were free, people able to just turn up and wait to be seen.

A spokesperson for Dentaid said some patients have been arriving in tears due to excruciating dental pain and leaving with smiles on their faces following treatment.

The project has been funded by Kirklees Council which awarded Dentaid a £7,060 grant.

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, said the spokesperson.

Local MP Paula Sherriff, who has raised concerns about access to dental care in the constituency in parliament, has also visited the clinic.

The volunteers on the mobile dental unit were led by dentist Nick O’Donovan from Dewsbury Dental Centre.

The project was also an opportunity for foundation dentists to gain experience of outreach clinics in community settings.

“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.”

Coun Cathy Scott, cabinet lead for public health at Kirklees Council said: “We know that not everyone is registered with a dentist and that some people find it difficult to pay for dental care. 

“By supporting this project we can make sure that the most vulnerable people in our communities can access support to relieve pain and prevent future problems occurring.

“The mobile clinic was in easy to reach, in well known locations.”

Coun Scott said she had encouraged anyone who is concerned about their dental health and did not have access to dental care at the moment to go along and see one of the volunteer dentists.

The programme began on Monday, September 25, and had seen 150 people by the end of the first week, finishing with sessions at Thornhill Lees Community Centre on Tuesday, October 3.