Improving Welsh dental health
9 January 2012
Cardiff dental students will be providing treatment for hundreds of patients currently without a dentist at a new South Wales outreach unit.
The Clinical Teaching Unit at the Cynon Valley Neighbourhood Hospital provides a wide range of free dental care from fifth year School of Dentistry students to those residents without a dentist.
The experienced dental students offer treatment under the supervision of tutors at the modern facility, based in Mountain Ash. The aim is to help patients reach a good standard of dental health and then allow them to register fully with a dentist. An estimated 10,000 people in the Cynon Valley do not have access to a dentist.
The state of the art unit provides 18 treatment bays. It is funded by the Welsh Government and run in partnership between Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Cardiff and Vale UHB, and Cardiff University. The new venture follows on from the success of the first Community Based Clinical Teaching Unit at St. David's Hospital, run by Cardiff and Vale UHB and Cardiff University, which has been running for eight years.
Professor Michael Lewis, Dean of Cardiff School of Dentistry and Divisional Director of the Dental Division of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "The new Mountain Ash outreach clinic is is doubly good news for dental services in Wales. As Dental Division Director, I'm delighted to see this fantastic state-of-the-art facility delivering services to patients in an area of high need. As Dean of the Dental School, I'm equally pleased to see that our students are being taught with the best possible equipment and will benefit from delivering dental treatment directly to patients in their own area."
David Browning, of Aberdare, was one of the first through the doors for treatment and was impressed with what he saw. He said: "It's all new, local – it's all there for us."
Rochit Chandegra, aged 22, is a fifth year dental student and was pleased with his new 'classroom'. He said: "The patients have been really pleased with the new facility. They are really grateful to be getting dental care. The facilities here are brand new and everyone here is looking forward to the new challenge."
Peter Ash, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board's Director of Primary Dental Care, said the new unit was a great benefit for health in the area.
He said: "Patients who perhaps have serious need of dental care but for a variety of reasons have not been able to access it in the past, will be able to get good treatment here free of charge. At the same time it will provide fifth year dental students with more practical experience before they finally qualify and go onto positions in practices. The unit is an investment not only in the standard of dental health in the region but also in the future dentists who will provide care for people in Wales and across the UK."