Government cash will fund free check-ups at dentist for up to 4,000

by Symptom Advice on March 3, 2012

UP to 4,000 Derbyshire people will be given free dental checks following concerns among NHS chiefs that too many are failing to see a dentist regularly.

The Government is desperate to get more people into the habit of regular check-ups so it has given the local NHS ?180,000 to tackle the problem.

Now the cash is being used to promote and pay for a scheme open to people who have not seen a dentist for two years or more.

They are entitled to ?17 vouchers to cover the standard cost of a check-up.

Only 57% of people in the county visit an NHS dentist regularly, although health chiefs do not know how many of the remainder get private treatment. Dentist Mak Sidhu, of Park Dental in Chaddesden, said people were particularly in need of financial help during the difficult economic times.

He said: “I’ve had several patients, particularly in the last two years, who need fillings but have told me they are not in pain so would rather putting off having treatment than pay.

“Some people need the money to spend on food, their kids and paying the rent.

“But my message is that, if you postpone going to the dentist, you will end up in more pain and suffering and will ultimately need more advanced – and therefore more expensive – treatment.” he also stressed that a whole range of health problems led to symptoms in the mouth and so could be diagnosed by dentists.

These include HIV, diabetes, oral cancer and the digestive disorder known as Crohn’s disease.

Mr Sidhu said: “I’ve seen figures showing that about 5,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year.” A total of 32 dental practices across the county have signed up to the scheme, which will run throughout March. A voucher for a free checkup has been printed alongside this article and can also be downloaded from There are three charges for NHS care: ?17 for a standard treatment, ?47 for additional treatment such as fillings, root canal surgery and extractions and ?204 for crowns, dentures and bridges.

Free care is available to certain patients including under-18s, pregnant women and those claiming benefits.

Keith Mann, head of primary care for NHS Derby-shire, said that work had been carried out to encourage people to have regular checkups. he said: “The opening of six new dental surgeries in Derby has now made it easier than ever before for patients to see an NHS dentist in the city. “We’ve also invested more than ?3 million on new services in the county and set up dedicated dental helplines to give advice and support to patients in both Derbyshire and the city.

“Teeth are key factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so there’s every reason to look after them – and losing or damaging them can have an enormous influence on your health as well as your confidence.” Patients are being encouraged to try to book early, as limited appointments are available. Registration at the practice is not required. COMMON DENTAL PROBLEMS IN ADULTS FIVE common problems in adults according to the British Dental Association: 1. Gum disease, caused by plaque, can result in teeth having to be removed. It can be avoided by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and visiting the dentist regularly. 2. Mouth ulcers, can be caused by a tooth rubbing, a lack of vitamin B12, anaemia or stress. Mouthwash can help clear them. 3. Mouth cancer can be reduced by regular visits to the dentist, a healthy diet, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake. 4. Dental abscesses occur when tooth decay is left untreated. A dentist is likely to drain the abscess before putting in a root filling.

5. Erosion is usually caused by acidic food and drink. Dentists recommend drinking acidic drinks through a straw to avoid contact with teeth.

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