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School uses charity to tackle pupils' toothache

A school has brought in a dental charity to treat pupils with such bad toothache they have missed lessons.

Staff at Trinity Academy Grammar in West Yorkshire have had to take pupils to hospital as they were in agony but unable to access an NHS dentist.

The Department for Health said an extra £50m funding had been given to NHS dental services for more appointments.

Charlie Johnson, headteacher of the school in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, said as well as being forced to take days off, some students had been left in tears during lessons due to toothache.

After becoming concerned, Mr Johnson said he had contacted public health officials who said there was a shortage of local NHS dentists taking on patients.

The school was put in touch with Dentaid, a UK charity which normally provided dental treatment to people in developing countries who cannot access it, or to vulnerable people such as the homeless.

As a result, a mobile clinic was brought to the school and volunteer dentists found around one in 10 of its 900 pupils needed treatment for conditions such as decay, cracked teeth and abscesses.

The school said it was "frustrating" it had been forced to step in to provide dental treatment, but added that parents often found it "impossible" to access help.

The British Dental Association said the fact that Trinity Academy had been forced to call on a charity for help illustrated that NHS dentistry was on its "last legs".

Chairman Eddie Crouch said: "We salute these volunteers, but this isn't the Victorian era.

"A wealthy 21st Century nation shouldn't be relying on charities to provide basic healthcare to our children."

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Source: BBC News, 28 April 2022


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