Mobile dental unit provides treatment for homeless people in Chippenham

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A mobile dental unit has provided much-needed treatment for homeless people in Chippenham.
Volunteers from Dentaid staffed a mobile unit, which paid Unity House a visit recently. Unity House is part of the Supported Housing North Scheme run by the charity, Alabaré, in association with Chippenham Town Council.
The van, which is kitted out with all the latest equipment, provided treatment for homeless people in the town, including nine Alabaré residents.
Research published in 2018 suggested that 70 percent of homeless people had lost at least one tooth since living on the streets and 30 percent lived with chronic dental pain. Getting to the dentist can be problematic for many reasons for homeless people. The cost of transport and treatment is a barrier, many people don’t have a fixed address to register with an NHS dentist, and many also feel embarrassed or ashamed about the state of their oral health.
The Chippenham project aims to break down barriers to connect homeless people with dental volunteers and ensure that they are able to get the care they need. The Dentaid team, which was made up of dentist, Ben Dannatt and dental nurse, Debbie Russell from Ivydene Dental, provided a range of services, including free dental checks and oral cancer screening, scale and polish treatments, pain relief, fillings, and tooth extraction.
Patient, Vicky, had not seen a dentist for 15 years when the mobile unit arrived at Unity House. She ended up in hospital with an infected tooth last year, but couldn’t afford to see a dentist to get it treated. Initially, the hospital staff provided pain relief, but the tooth has been bothering Vicky ever since, and she was incredibly relieved to hear about the planned mobile unit visit. As well as treating Vicky’s tooth, the team also gave her a scale and polish, which has really helped to boost her confidence.

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