Rob Witton, Luke Pollard and Laira Green pupils

The University of Plymouth is offering free dental appointments to a second Plymouth primary school – expanding a pilot scheme announced earlier this month. 
NHS dental appointments are set to be offered to children at Laira Green Primary School, after a recommendation to expand a new pilot scheme to the school was made by its local MP, Luke Pollard.  
The University’s new pilot scheme, which involves creating additional dental appointments by its clinical partner, Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) for children in Key Stages 1 and 2, has been expanded after it was initially offered to Whitleigh Primary School following a local campaign.
Professor Robert Witton, who is also CEO of the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, visited Laira Green this month alongside Mr Pollard to mark the announcement.  

The University's Peninsula Dental School and PDSE provide over 4,000 appointments each year for children, and we are delighted to be able to work directly with schools to offer these appointments to children in need. We have been working with Laira Green for some time to promote oral health and wanted to do more as we know finding a dentist in Plymouth can be a challenge for many families.

Following a recommendation by Luke, and with the support of the Plymouth Dental Task Force, we have opened up this initiative to Laira Green to see if we can better align the training needs of our dental students with the needs of local children. Although we have limited resource, if we can make this a success we will expand the offer to other schools.”

Robert WittonRobert Witton
Professor of Community Dentistry

PDSE offers NHS dental treatment across the South West to people who might not otherwise be able to access it, and students on the University of Plymouth’s dentistry and dental therapy and hygiene courses deliver the appointments under supervision. 
As part of their degree, the students also complete a project with PDSE to deliver oral health education sessions to organisations around the city, including schools and charities.
Access to dental care for children in Plymouth is severely limited, with nearly 23,000 people on an NHS dental waiting list. Children’s dental care has been a priority for the Plymouth Dental Task Force since it was convened by Plymouth City Council earlier this year to address the host of issues surrounding NHS dentistry provision in the city. 
Mr Pollard has also launched a new dental survey to hear from families in Plymouth about their experiences of dentistry in the city. 

Working with the University of Plymouth's dental school, we have been able to extend targeted help to young people at Laira Green Primary School. This means kids who can’t get an NHS dentist locally can now get treatment for free at the dental school.

This initiative is superb and shows even with a government on go slow, we can make a difference locally.
Luke Pollard, Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport 

Faculty of Health

Exceptional clinical and academic learning, social engagement and research in medicine, dentistry, nursing, psychology and health professions.
Bachelor of Dental Surgery -  Years Three and Four