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Haverhill and Hadleigh to be visited by free mobile emergency dental clinics





Emergency dental clinics for residents of Haverhill and Hadleigh who are not registered with a dentist and are suffering the misery of toothache will take place over two days next week.

Dentaid, the dental charity, is providing the service for people with severe dental pain and no other access to treatment.

Volunteer dentists and dental nurses will be on the charity’s mobile dental unit offering free oral cancer screening, dental health advice, fillings and extractions.

DentAid volunteer Neil Sikka treats a patient in the charity's mobile dental unit. Contributed picture (59880068)
DentAid volunteer Neil Sikka treats a patient in the charity's mobile dental unit. Contributed picture (59880068)

The clinics will take place in Haverhill Market Square outside St Mary’s Church on Thursday, October 20 and in the car park of Hadleigh Pool and Leisure on Friday, October 21.

Treatments will be given between 10am and 4pm.

People don’t need appointments and are invited to turn up and wait to be seen. Everyone will be triaged to assess their level of need. Patients are advised to arrive early and be prepared to wait.

The charity’s volunteers will see as many people as they can but can’t promise to see everyone.

People queuing for the DEntAid mjobile unit in Bury St Edmunds. Submitted picture (59880066)
People queuing for the DEntAid mjobile unit in Bury St Edmunds. Submitted picture (59880066)

This is Dentaid’s fourth visit to Suffolk. The charity previously ran clinics in Bury St Edmunds and Leiston, where hundreds of people in dental pain waited up to six hours to be seen.

The charity is returning at the request of local councillors after they identified increasing access to dental care as a priority for their communities.

West Suffolk councillors David Smith (Haverhill South) and Pat Hanlon (Haverhill East) said: “People’s self-confidence so often rests in their smile and that can be shattered when they are living with often painful problems with their teeth and gums that they haven’t been able to get help for.

Jill Harding outside the DentAid unit when it was in Bury St Edmunds
Jill Harding outside the DentAid unit when it was in Bury St Edmunds

“We know how difficult many people find it in getting to see a dentist and getting that advice or treatment that they may need.

"The Dentaid sessions have been very successful elsewhere in West Suffolk and so we are very pleased to be able to help bring it to Haverhill and grateful to St Mary’s Church for their support in making their community room available.

“Our hope is that it will enable some of our local residents to get the help that they need to give them their confidence back and improve their quality of life.”

Peter Lyes from Mildenhall receiving treatment at the DentAid mobile unit during one of its visits to Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley
Peter Lyes from Mildenhall receiving treatment at the DentAid mobile unit during one of its visits to Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley

Hadleigh councillor Angela Wiltshire, who fund-raised for Dentaid to visit, added: ‘People in the area around Hadleigh haven’t had an NHS dentist taking on new patients for some time now and I have been contacted by people who are in pain and are unregistered who cannot wait for 21st October to arrive.

"Toothache pain has got to be one of the worst things imaginable and it’s wrong that people cannot access proper NHS dental treatment in this day and age in Suffolk.

"I’m so grateful that Dentaid have been able to fit us in to their schedule.”

Anyone planning to attend the clinics is asked to ensure they have eaten breakfast and bring plenty of water as there may be a long queue.

Dentaid is asking people only to attend if they meet the criteria of living in the Haverhill or Hadleigh area, are currently experiencing dental pain and have no other way of accessing dental care.

“We expect there to be huge demand for our charitable dental service when we return to Suffolk,” said Dentaid CEO, Andy Evans.

“On previous occasions we had long queues of people who were in terrible dental pain and our volunteers worked tirelessly to help as many as they could.

"We do ask people to remember these are volunteers who are giving up their time to try to help those in greatest need.

"We know there are people in the Suffolk community who are suffering from untreated toothache and thanks to our volunteers and the local councils, Dentaid will help as many people as we can.”

Dentaid has four mobile dental units which travel the UK providing outreach dental care for people who struggle to access treatment, including those experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers and refugees, head and neck cancer patients, fishing communities and survivors of domestic abuse.