Dental students receive baptism of fire

Dental students have begun work with real patients as part of a scheme to reduce the wait for treatment in Exeter.

Peninsula Dental School students are now offering free care under supervision from professionals.They offer oral examinations, hygiene instruction and dietary advice, temporary fillings and X-rays.

One of the first patients,Nina Thorpe, 42, from Exwick said: "I have had bad experiences of dentists so I was nervous about this visit.

"But the experience has been great. The students were very confident and were able to give me good advice."

Another patient, Philip Osgood, 67, from Exminster, said: "The whole experience has been fantastic.

"I was put at ease from the word go, and the two students who treated me certainly knew what they were doing."

Diana Ridgeway, 74, from East Budleigh, said: "We were made so welcome in a very relaxed atmosphere with the students radiating care and cheerfulness."

Her husband Bill, 77, added: "For a group so early on in their studies, they are remarkably knowledgeable and very confident in treating patients."

Professor Liz Kay, dean of the Peninsula Dental School, said: "NHS patients in Exeter can be assured that our students and qualified dental teaching staff will provide them with the highest quality dental service."

Andrew Harris, dental lead at Devon Primary Care Trust, said: "This will be another positive contribution to improving access to NHS dentistry in the Exeter area."

Chief dental officer Dr Barry Cockcroft said: "Not only will it provide services for local patients during training, but hopefully many of the students will remain in the peninsula to provide growing dental services for the future."

Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter and Minister for Health, said: "This new dental school, the first in Britain for over 40 years, will be a much-needed asset to dentistry in Exeter."

The clinic, at Heavitree Hospital, will be open two days a week in term-time and will treat 128 patients a week.

Devon PCT has started writing to patients inviting them to make appointments at the Dental Education Clinic.

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