A new mobile dental service will provide much-needed dental care for people most in-need in Portsmouth.

This includes new and expectant mothers, children, people on low incomes and benefits, and people at risk of homelessness and social exclusion. It’s available across Hampshire but will target areas at highest risk of poor dental health.

The project has been funded by NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight for 18 months in a partnership with dental charity, Dentaid, to alleviate pressure on existing dental services and increase access to care for those facing difficult circumstances.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “NHS dentistry has been facing a national crisis which has been disproportionately impacting residents in Portsmouth due to a shortage of dentists. We therefore welcome the news of additional dental capacity for in-need communities in our city to access dental care.

“The council has been instrumental in supporting the business case for the mobile dental unit, providing data to identify the areas in highest need and providing council sites to deliver the mobile service from.”

The mobile dental units will be parking outside specific community centres in Portsmouth – Cosham Community Centre, Paulsgrove Community Centre and the Somerstown Hub –  and eligible patients will be invited to make appointments to see the onboard dentist. The dentist will provide check-ups and oral cancer screening, oral health advice and emergency care including extractions and fillings. All treatment will be free of charge.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Health and Care, at Portsmouth City Council said: “Many Portsmouth residents have struggled to access dentist services for some time now. Those unable to afford private treatment or travel for NHS treatment have been especially impacted. This has caused much stress and led to dental problems getting worse over time.

“Additional NHS dental appointments were brought into the city last year to help. We hope the mobile dental unit will further improve the situation not only by directly supporting residents with treatment, but also by helping to reduce pressure on our existing dental services to enable them to help more patients.”

Simon Cooper, Director of Pharmacy, Optometry and Dentistry at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said: “We are really pleased to be funding this project and partnering with Dentaid The Dental Charity on this innovative approach to provide dentistry for those who need it most. Since we took on the responsibility for dentistry last year, we have been looking at ways we can ensure better access to NHS dental care for everyone living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“By targeting dental care at those living in more deprived communities, we will reach those with the highest risk of poor dental quality. We can then focus further investment on other patients who are currently unable to access an NHS dentist.”

The first clinics will take place in Portsmouth, Havant and Southampton followed by the Isle of Wight in March and other areas of Hampshire later in the year. The service is only for eligible Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents who don’t already have a dentist, and appointments are essential. If you are eligible, call Dentaid The Dental Charity on 023 8001 4450 to make an appointment.

Dentist treating a patient on the mobile dentist unit
Dentist Mary Green treating a patient on the mobile dentist unit