Students cut their teeth in seaside town’s new clinic

An Essex town is to get its pick of dentists – for free!

Residents in the seaside town of Southend can snap up some no-cost treatment by local students, thanks to a brand new clinic that opened its doors to the public this week.

The Barts and The London Academic Dental Clinic, based at the University of Essex’s Southend campus, is staffed by senior dental students, and local residents are invited to book up for treatments including check-ups, routine fillings, simple root canals and extractions.

All the treatments are free and there’s no need for a referral.

The students, who all study at the Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, will carry out procedures under the supervision of qualified local dentists.

Any patient requiring specialist care will be redirected or referred to a specialist service.

Consultant Melvyn Smith, overseeing clinical care at the centre, said: ‘It’s important for people to know all the students have senior status and any procedures will be carried out under the supervision of professionals.

‘This will mean there are more NHS dentists for the people of Southend. But work will take a little bit longer and it’s important people know that. We’re going to be here permanently and this is something for the future.’

Barts and The London Academic Dental Clinic is part of a broader NHS health and dental facility – Southend Health and Dental Care – within which sits the dental clinic, a GP service, an NHS dental practice run by a qualified dental practitioner, and a clinical skills training laboratory run by the University of Essex.

Professor Farida Fortune, Dean for Dentistry at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: ‘We are really excited about this new venture and partnership. It will give our students the opportunity to provide first-class, friendly and focused primary dental care in state-of-the-art facilities.’

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