Fishermen and their families in Bridlington received free dental care as part of the Seafit Programme.

Dental charity Dentaid joined forces with The Fishermen’s Mission and The Seafarers Hospital Society to provide dental care at the harbourside onboard the charity’s mobile dental unit.

The scheme helps fishermen who often struggle to access dental treatment and other medical care because they work long hours at sea.

Seven patients received treatment including several who had been living with long-term dental pain.

Volunteer dentist Jane Lelean extracted 17 painful teeth and carried out four fillings along with scale and polishes, oral cancer checks and dental health advice.

‘This was a very busy clinic for our volunteer dental team.

‘The fact that they had to remove so many teeth shows that some fishermen are living in constant dental pain but still aren’t accessing dental care,’ said Dentaid CEO Andy Evans.

‘By taking our mobile dental unit to the harbour not only did we help them out of immediate pain, we also helped them re-engage with dentistry which is crucial to their general health and wellbeing.’

Alleviating pain

Many of the patients had not seen a dentist for several years and were suffering from constant pain.

‘We were told you were coming and I couldn’t wait to see you as I’m having trouble with my teeth and am in a lot of pain,’ said one patient who hadn’t attended for 15 years and required multiple extractions.

‘Only being ashore for a brief time between fishing means it’s difficult to make and stick to appointments and I have other priorities,’ said another fisherman who attended the clinic, co-ordinated by the East Riding Healthtrainer service.

Dentaid has also run quayside clinics in Poole and Peterhead as part of the Seafit programme and will be working with the Fishermen’s Mission and Seafarers Hospital Society to provide more dental care for fishermen in the future.

Dentaid was founded in 1996 and works to improve oral health around the world. The charity sends volunteer dental professionals and reconditioned equipment to support the work of dentists in poor and remote communities. See www.dentaid.org