Eastbourne’s rough sleepers helped by dental charity

Homeless and vulnerably housed people in Eastbourne have received essential dental care thanks to a charity.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:41 pm
Volunteer dentist Eileen Swanson treating a patient in Eastbourne. SUS-210325-162816001
Volunteer dentist Eileen Swanson treating a patient in Eastbourne. SUS-210325-162816001

Dentaid pays monthly visits to the Salvation Army citadel on Langney Road with volunteer dental professionals to provide free emergency treatment on a mobile dental unit.

Yesterday (March 24) 12 homeless people who were suffering from toothache were seen by volunteer dentist Eileen Swanson and dental nurse Danielle Caldwell.

Several patients were suffering extreme dental pain making it hard for them to eat or sleep.

The Dentaid mobile dental unit in Eastbourne. SUS-210325-163116001

The volunteers extracted painful teeth, screened for oral cancer and gave dental health advice.

Larry, who slept in a shop doorway in Eastbourne for a year before being given emergency accommodation, said, “I have this pain in my mouth all the time and the teeth I have left are in a really bad way.

“It’s hard to clean your teeth and look after them on the streets. Sometimes it got so bad I pulled them out myself.”

East Sussex County Council’s Rough Sleepers Initiative has funded the Dentaid clinics which are seeing huge demand.

A Dentaid patient in Eastbourne. SUS-210325-163051001

This week’s clinic was the third time the mobile dental unit has visited Eastbourne and a queue quickly formed.

Another patient called Shelley said, “It’s the only way I’ll get to see a dentist.

“I was in so much pain I called the emergency number but they could only see me in Portslade and I’ve got no transport or money to get there so I just put up with the throbbing pain.”

Dentaid’s UK development manager Sue Smith said, “Many homeless and vulnerable people face huge obstacles in accessing dental care and often haven’t seen a dentist for years or are living with severe dental pain.

“This affects their confidence and chances of moving on to a new phase of their lives. By taking a mobile dental service to a location where they already feel safe and comfortable, we can help to break down these barriers, help them out of dental pain and improve their future chances. We are really grateful to East Sussex County Council for supporting these dental clinics.”

Dentaid is a charity which provides dental treatment, training, equipment donations and oral health education in more than 70 countries.

The charity also has projects in the UK including a school’s programme and two mobile dental units which provide help for homeless and vulnerable people.