Dentaid mobile dental unit in Blackpool

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Vulnerable people in Blackpool receive dental treatment on Dentaid mobile dental unit

Homeless and vulnerable people in Blackpool have received essential dental treatment onboard a mobile dental unit operated by the charity Dentaid.

A team of volunteer dentists and dental nurses visited the Horizon service in Blackpool on Saturday offering free treatment for clients with a range of mental health conditions, those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, the homeless and people who find it hard to access NHS dental services.

A total of 47 patients were seen including many who had been suffering long-term dental pain. One patient had five teeth extracted and a further 16 had at least one tooth removed. The team also provided scale and polishes, fillings, fluoride application for children and oral health advice.

Thanks to the generosity of NewCoDent, who loaned Dentaid a full portable surgery, the team also set up a second treatment area in the Horizon centre. This enabled many more people to access dental care and everyone who attended the clinic was seen and offered treatment.

They included people whose lives were affected by drug and alcohol abuse who received essential pain-relieving care thanks to the skills and understanding of the volunteering team.

The event was attended by deputy chief dental officer, Eric Rooney, Pam Swain, chief executive of the British Association of Dental Nurses and president of the British Oral Health Foundation, Janet Goodwin. The project was commissioned by Horizon, a service offering drug, alcohol and non-clinical sexual health support for Blackpool residents, funded by Blackpool Council.

Dentaid purchased the mobile dental unit last year to provide outreach dental services for vulnerable people across the UK. Monthly clinics are held at Trinity House day centre in Winchester and the unit recently spent two weeks in Kirklees where a team of volunteers saw more than 300 patients.

“We are aware that many vulnerable people are not registered with a dentist and only seek dental services when they are in extreme pain, and it’s having a serious impact on their lives,” said Dentaid CEO, Andy Evans. “By taking dental services to a location where they feel safe and comfortable we are helping them access the treatment they need.”

Carole Houston, communications lead for Horizon added: “At Horizon we are very conscious that many of our clients find it difficult to access NHS dental treatment for various reasons. We therefore wanted to make dental treatment as accessible as possible for our clients and other vulnerable people in Blackpool. We commissioned the Dentaid team to bring their mobile unit into the heart of the recovery community in Blackpool to help to break down any perceived barriers.

"The event was a tremendous success and the feedback from the patients was very positive. So many patients had been in desperate need of dental treatment but either didn’t know how to access treatment or were too anxious to seek help. This initiative was created especially for our clients, bringing dental treatment directly to them.”