Macmillan Cancer Support has teamed up with dental charity Dentaid to fund a mobile unit at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS).
Dentaid’s mobile unit is attending the hospital twice a month with its group of volunteer dentists and dental nurses to offer treatment to head and neck cancer patients.
Andy Evans Dentaid’s CEO said: “ We are thrilled to have this clinic available for patients as some are awaiting cancer treatment but require dental work before treatment can commence, sadly some are struggling to access NHS dental services which would cause delays to their treatment and possibly their outcomes.
“Other patients are still going through treatment and have lost teeth as a result – often due to necessary extractions. They would like dentures and restorative treatments to help them regain confidence but access to NHS dentistry is limited and the cost is often prohibitively expensive.”
The service also supports patients who have finished their cancer treatment -maybe a few years ago – but are now suffering ongoing damage to their teeth.
Dentaid volunteer dentists and dental nurses provide full x-rays and screenings, fillings, dentures, extractions if necessary, dental and oral health advice, scale and polish and other treatments. All clinics take place on the mobile dental unit which parks at the hospital.
Tracy Street, Macmillan Engagement lead said: “It is fantastic to be working in partnership with Dentaid and UHS to provide essential dental care for head and neck cancer patients. Sadly, some patients are finding there is a gap in provision and thanks to Dentaid’s volunteers and our amazing Macmillan supporters we can fund and offer patients the dental care they need before, during and after their cancer treatment.”
Dentaid volunteer, dentist Rebecca Powley said: “I think it’s fabulous that by volunteering with Dentaid we can offer head and neck cancer patients dental care without delay which can improve their outcomes and make a difference to their lives.”
Since July 2021 Dentaid has seen 46 patients and carried out 170 treatments at UHS. This includes the extraction of 35 painful teeth or teeth that needed to be removed prior to radiotherapy, in order that treatment could start as quickly as possible.