At a glance:
*Spend a day volunteering on our mobile dental unit providing free emergency dental care for homeless and vulnerable people.
*Clinics take place on our mobile dental unit at hostels, day centres, soup kitchens, community centres and public buildings.
*Positions are voluntary although we are able to pay modest expenses for some clinics.
*Volunteering opportunities for dentists, dental nurses and dental assistants.
For many homeless and vulnerable people, accessing dental care is incredibly difficult. According to research by the charity Groundswell, 70 per cent of rough sleepers have lost teeth since becoming homeless, 30 per cent are living with dental pain and 15 per cent have tried to extract their own teeth.
Dentaid’s mobile dental unit visits soup kitchens, hostels and day centres, providing free pain relieving dental treatments, scale and polish and oral health advice. Our aim is to help patients out of dental pain and help to restore their self esteem.
Many patients will not have seen a dentist for many years and may be suffering from anxiety, mental health problems and long-term dental pain. By running a clinic in a location where they feel safe and familiar, we can help them out of immediate pain and help them to re-engage with dental care.
Dentaid’s UK volunteers provide free screening and treatment for all our patients including oral cancer checks, scale and polish, fluoride varnish, x-rays, fillings and extractions. We see between 6 and 30 patients in a day. In some cases we are able to offer dentures thanks to Dentaid’s partnership with the charity Den-Tech.
We have volunteering opportunities for dentists and dental nurses on board our mobile dental unit and we also need volunteers to help take medical histories and ensure the smooth running of our clinics. Our volunteer teams work alongside Dentaid staff and project workers from the homeless charities we work with.
So far in 2019, Dentaid volunteers have treated homeless people in Blackpool, York, Leeds, Southampton, Winchester and Chippenham.
Dentaid has also received funding from Kirklees Council to run a series of public access clinics in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire where many people are struggling to access dental care. Our mobile dental unit visits community centres, churches, schools and public buildings. These clinics are run by foundation dentists and their trainers however we need volunteer dental nurses to support them.
We also have a partnership with The Seafarer’s Hospital Society and the Fishermen’s Mission to provide free dental care at the quayside for fishermen and their families. These clinics have taken place in Poole, Bridlington and Peterhead and have provided life-changing dental care for fishermen who were suffering long term dental pain and found it difficult to access treatment.