Homeless people in Worthing see dentist thanks to charity’s mobile clinic
Homeless and vulnerably housed people in Worthing have received essential dental care after the dental charity Dentaid visited Turning Tides.
Nine patients were seen by volunteers on the charity’s mobile dental unit when it visited St Clare’s community hub on Tuesday.
Some patients needed painful teeth to be extracted after months of living in dental pain and everyone received dental health advice and oral cancer screening, along with new toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The clinic was funded thanks to a grant from the Friarsgate Trust.
Dentaid is planning return on a monthly basis to help homeless people who are suffering the misery of toothache.
Claire Halford Dale, centre manager, said: “We’ve had clients in tears because they are suffering such severe toothache and in the past we’ve even taken them to A&E.
“We have tried to get emergency dental appointments for our clients, but they are either already booked up or in a different part of the county and they just can’t get there.
“So Dentaid bringing a mobile dental unit here is fantastic.”
Dentist David Nott and dental nurse Jasmine Goddard from Burgess Hill Dental Centre volunteered to treat patients on the mobile dental unit and everyone was very grateful for the chance to receive dental care.
“My mouth hurts all the time and my teeth just break off,” said one homeless patient.
“It hurts when I eat and stops me sleeping.
“I did ask to see a dentist but you can’t get one and I’ve just had to live with this pain in my head.”
Sue Smith, Dentaid’s UK Development manager, said: “Many homeless and vulnerable people face huge obstacles in accessing dental care and often haven’t seen a dentist for years or are living with severe dental pain.
“This affects their confidence and chances of moving on to a new phase of their lives.
“By taking a mobile dental service to a location where they already feel safe and comfortable, we can help to break down these barriers, help them out of dental pain and improve their future chances.
“It’s wonderful to be working with Turning Tides to help in this way and we’ll be seeking further funding so no homeless people in Worthing have to suffer the misery of untreated dental pain.”
Dentaid was formed in 1996 and has worked in more than 70 countries providing dental treatment, training, equipment donations and oral health education.
The charity also has projects in the UK, including a school’s programme and two mobile dental units providing dental care for homeless and vulnerable people.