Dental volunteers provide free emergency dental treatments for hundreds of homeless and vulnerable people across the UK every year.
Dentaid in the UK
It is a sad fact that many people in the UK don’t receive dental care.
Many homeless and vulnerable people aren’t registered with a dentist and live with long-term pain and infections. Sadly, 70 per cent of homeless people have dental problems and 15 per cent have tried to extract their own teeth.
Some people who work long, unpredictable hours, feel that taking time off work to visit a dentist is impractical and unaffordable, while in some parts of the country there are long waiting lists to register for NHS dental care. Furthermore, 40 per cent of British children don’t receive regular dental check-ups or oral health education.
Dentaid has a range of projects to tackle these problems.
Mobile dental care for homeless people
Our mobile dental units visit homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community buildings across the country with volunteers providing free dental screening, advice and treatment for people who aren’t registered for NHS dental care.
By taking a dental service to a location where our patients already feel safe and comfortable, we can start to break down barriers and help them access essential dental treatment.
Public access clinics
In towns and cities across the UK people are struggling to access dental care. Often there are long waiting lists to register with an NHS practice or people travel many miles to find a dentist.
We take our mobile dental units to community centres, schools and public buildings in areas where access to dentistry is a real problem including Dewsbury in West Yorkshire and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. Our volunteers provide free check ups and treatment for anyone who’s not registered with a dentist but is suffering the misery of untreated toothache.
Clinics for fishermen
For many fishermen who work long, unpredictable hours at sea, accessing regular dental care oftens seems unaffordable and impractical.
Dentaid has teamed up with the Fishermen’s Mission and The Seafarers Hospital Society to provide free dental screening and treatment at the quayside for fishermen as they come ashore.
BrightBites is an educational resource which teaches children about the importance of looking after their teeth. It includes a teacher’s pack, leaflets and toothbrushing chart.
We provide materials for toothbrushing programmes and can arrange for volunteers to visit schools to give a presentation that covers good brushing, sugar awareness and the importance of regular dental check ups.
Head and neck cancer patients
Dentaid is working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to provide dental treatment for head and neck cancer patients at University Hospital Southampton.
Twice a month, our volunteers provide treatment for people who need dental care prior to starting radiotherapy or chemotherapy, in addition to those whose treatment is ongoing or completed but they require further dental care.
Refugees and asylum seekers
Many of those who travel to the UK for sanctuary, arrive in dental pain. Every month Dentaid’s charity unit visits Napier Barracks in Folkestone to treat those who have crossed The Channel in the hope of a safer life.
Dentaid also runs clinics for Afghan evacuees who escaped the Taliban takeover in 2021 and runs clinics in Leeds and Bradford for asylum seekers who have no other access to dental care.
Dental care for people who need it
Dentaid also provides outreach dental services for ex-service personnel and veterans, victims of domestic violence, people whose lives are affected by drug and alcohol addiction and school children in areas of high social deprivation.
Wherever there is a need for free, safe, sustainable dental care we do our best to help – and demand for our services is growing all the time.