The Real Junk Tooth Project has recently opened in Dewsbury offering ‘pay what you can afford’ dentistry.
Supported by Dentaid, the Real Junk Tooth Project has been launched to offer emergency dentistry to patients who cannot access NHS care or afford to pay for private treatments.
Andy Evans, strategic director of Dentaid, explained who the centre is for: ‘If you can’t afford to catch the two buses from Dewsbury, or if you’re working in a very low paid job and you have to work evenings or nights and therefore you’re sleeping through the day then you might not actually be able to access a clinic at the time that clinics are open.
‘Equally, a lot of these vulnerable people don’t want to sit in a waiting room, they’ll be a bit more self-conscious about filling out forms, and sometimes English isn’t their first language.
‘So what we’re doing is breaking down those barriers by providing a friendly face with somebody from the Real Junk Food Project who comes to the clinic and is there for people when they open the door and see them.
‘They know they’re not being judged and they can get out of dental pain.’
NHS dentistry shortages
The centre is the first of its kind in the UK and opens on Thursdays between 6-8pm.
Difficulties signing up to an NHS dentist in Dewsbury has led to many people in the local area attempting DIY dentistry, as reported by The Guardian.
‘I had this pain for two or three days and it just got progressively worse to the point where I’d rather go through childbirth again than suffer this,’ Claire Skipper told The Guardian.
Unable to find a dentist that would help her she decided to pull her wisdom tooth out herself using a pair of pliers.
And Andy Evans believes stories like these are not uncommon in the area of Dewsbury.
Patients of the Real Junk Tooth Project are asked to pay whatever they feel like they can afford.
It is open to those patients suffering from dental pain and cannot access NHS dentistry and is run by volunteers with equipment that has been donated.
The idea came about after Paul Burr launched the Dewsbury Real Junk Food Project, a ‘pay what you feel’ cafe.
He noticed that many of the customers couldn’t eat due to problems with their oral health, before a visit from a dentist sparked the idea of offering free dental care for vulnerable people.
‘They can’t afford food so they certainly can’t afford to pay private to get their teeth fixed,’ explain Paul Burr.
To find out more information you can visit therealjunktoothproject.org.