Public access clinics
In many parts of the UK access to NHS dental care is limited and patients struggle to find a dentist in their local community. In areas of rural poverty with irregular public transport and fewer dental practices, the problem can be even worse. We work with local councils who have identified a lack of access to dental care as a priority in their communities who invite us to run clinics in their towns.
These emergency clinics are for local people who are suffering from dental pain who have no other access to dental care. Our volunteers offer simple pain-relieving dentistry including extractions and fillings. There are no appointments and people queue for many hours to see our teams of volunteer dental professionals.
Recently these clinics have taken place in Suffolk, an area where lack of access to dental care has led to protest marches and political lobbying. Dentaid has visited Bury St Edmunds, Leiston, Hadleigh, Haverhill and Sudbury with our volunteers treating up to 45 patients a day. We park our mobile dental units outside churches, schools and community centres. We work alongside local councillors and community leaders to ensure we can reach those in greatest need.
Our patients include children, people on low incomes and those without transport to travel to other areas for dental treatment. They are all very grateful for the opportunity to receive dental care as many have been living with a long-term toothache.
Dentaid’s public access clinic require large teams of volunteers who often come from local practices. They say volunteering with Dentaid is a great way of helping people in their communities receive emergency dental care they would otherwise find difficult to access.
“I have been trying for five years to get an NHS dentist but it’s just impossible. I had a wisdom tooth out privately and I needed to take out a £500 bank loan to pay for that. Feeding my children and putting a roof over their heads has to come first.” – Darren a Dentaid patient in Suffolk