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College of Dentistry To Offer Free Treatments to UK Students

12 April 2017

College of Dentistry To Offer Free Treatments to UK Students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – To assist in improving the oral, and overall, health of students, the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry is piloting a new service providing students at UK with easier access to select, no-cost dental care.

Students who are enrolled full-time or part-time and have paid their UK student health fee are eligible to receive dental care as part of the service. Dental exams, cleanings, select x-rays and simple restorative treatments will be available. Additional dental treatments, if needed, are available for a fee.  Students will need their UK ID at each dental appointment.

UKCD dental students will provide care under the direction of faculty and staff inside the DMD Student Clinic in the Dental Science Building. In an effort to reduce the wait time between making an appointment and being seen, appointments will be scheduled with the next available provider during normal clinic hours.

For more information on UKCD’s Student Dental Health Service, including details on how to schedule an appointment, click here.

"I've had to remove all of a toddler's teeth. It's time for a war on sugar"

A recent article in The Guardian has shown just how much children are being hurt by sugar.

"It is the end of an afternoon in theatre and I have extracted more than 100 teeth from my operating list of eight patients, the youngest a two-year-old who needed all 20 baby teeth removing because they were so decayed. I watch in silence as a child younger than my own is transferred from the operating table and I wonder how we reached this point as a society where I don’t believe we truly value oral health, nor realise the implications of failing to do so.

Nearly 20 years after observing my first general anaesthetic as a student it doesn’t get any easier. I regularly see parents overcome by guilt and emotion as they watch their child being put to sleep, or recovering dazed and confused in the recovery suite. Sometimes after a busy afternoon I sit in the theatre and wonder if there is more I can do, sometimes I have nothing left to give.

As an NHS consultant in paediatric dentistry, it sadly comes as no surprise to me that removal of decayed teeth remains the most common reason for a child aged five to nine years to be admitted to a hospital in England. In these straitened times, it seems so wrong that every year we spend around £35m on operations to treat a disease that is almost always preventable.

The frustration is that the solutions are already out there. Ten years ago, the Scottish government agreed to invest in a programme of oral health prevention called Childsmile. Now every child in Scotland has access to free daily supervised toothbrushing in nursery and free dental packs to support toothbrushing at home. Dental registration is encouraged and those communities and individuals who are higher risk have more support. The result? Scotland is reducing the millions of pounds it spends on general anaesthetics and turning around the oral health of its children, for the princely sum of £17 per child per year.

Wales has a similar Designed to Smile programme but in England, responsibility for oral health promotion has been devolved to cash-strapped local authorities. This means that it is a postcode lottery with some excellent programmes, such as Teeth Team in Hull, while in other areas existing services are being decommissioned.

England needs urgent investment in oral health prevention. It is actually more cost effective to prevent, rather than treat, dental disease but more importantly we could be preventing tens of thousands of young children, and their families, from potentially experiencing pain, swelling and sleepless nights and time away from school or work.

Every child has a right to good oral health yet still we see one in eight three-year-old children with obvious signs of decay. We need a more radical approach to reduce the persistent inequalities in oral health, which are immoral in this day and age. We need more compassion, an accelerated programme of product reformation so that the sugar content is reduced, and a war on marketing of high sugar products aimed at children.

Two years ago after a particularly frustrating consultation with a parent whose child’s diet was limited to Ribena and biscuits, I decided to begin writing a blog as a way of delivering practical information. I have reached many more families than I would in my day job, but I still feel as though I am wading in a sea of untreated decay. Education is important but it forms only part of the solution. It is too simplistic, and frankly unhelpful, to apportion all blame to the parents. Yes, as parents we have responsibilities and a vital role to play – but we could all be more proactive when it comes to children’s oral health.

I am delighted at the growing number of organisations that are now beginning to collaborate with me and colleagues via the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry. Health visitors can and are encouraging a dental check before a baby’s first birthday; sports and education settings can lead by example, adopting low-sugar menus and refusing to place sugary drinks in their vending machines; and communities should campaign for water fluoridation. Above all, we need strong, visible leadership by local and national government that says, “This is not acceptable and we are going to do something about it”. Children’s oral health should be everyone’s business.

Gateway becomes Wales’ first employee owned dental practice

The Gateway Dental Practice in Abergavenny has become the first employee owned NHS dental practice in Wales, thanks to support it has received from the European and Welsh Government funded, Social Business Wales project.

Using a structure similar to the John Lewis Partnership, 100 per cent of the company’s shares are now owned by a trust on behalf of the employees.

All 17 staff members have an equal stake in the business, with the Trust overseeing the practice to ensure that it’s run in their best interest.

The change of ownership was set in motion by Michael Allen, the principal founder of Gateway Dental Practice.

Established in 2007 in its Abergavenny base, Gateway OHS Limited provides NHS dental care to over 10,000 residents of Anuerin Bevan University Health Board and Powys University Health Board. Services include general dental care, dental hygiene and home treatment.

Michael said: “When I was looking into succession options for the practice, the employee owned model was the perfect fit because it enabled me to leave the business in the hands of people I had worked with and entrusted over the years and who were passionate about seeing it prosper.”

According to the Employee Ownership Association, employee ownership is growing at a rate of just under 10 per cent per annum, with employee-owned companies contributing approximately £30bn annually to the UK economy.

Dr Hannah Hutchison, dentist and shareholder at Gateway Dental Practice, has already seen first-hand the benefits this co-operative model brings.

She said: “We have already felt an immediate impact within the practice, with all of us feeling much closer as a team. Having a real stake in the business allows us to put our clients and communities first – to go that extra mile for them and be able to shape services to meet their health and well-being needs. The reason we all came into dentistry in the first place.”

Social Business Wales, a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, provided one-to-one support to Michael Allen and the employees at Gateway Dental Practice in areas such as succession planning, visioning and co-operative structures. Legal advice was provided by Wrigleys Solicitors.

Hannah said: “Social Business Wales were an invaluable source of help and support to us becoming Wales' first cooperatively owned dental practice. We hope Gateway will become a model for sustainable healthcare practices across Wales in the not so distant future.”


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