Earlier this summer, Cornwall’s leading dental healthcare provider Smile Together, in partnership with the Sea Farers Hospital Society, Fishermen’s Mission and Healthy Cornwall, decided to take a trip to the seaside … literally, and what it achieved left smiles all round among Cornwall’s fishing community.
Fishermen around Cornwall are seen as some of the most disenfranchised dental healthcare users. They spend much of their time at sea, working unsociable hours dictated to by tide times and not conventional working hours. It’s not a surprise that they rarely visit a dentist, so rather than wait for fishermen to come to them, Smile Together did it in reverse and went to see the fishermen.
It was never about turning up and handing out advice leaflets, it was about offering free and full dental check ups for fishermen and their families. Collectively the Smile Together team travelled over 2,500 miles and committed 340 hours to a campaign that saw 115 patients seen by a dentist. There were 15 fillings, 10 extractions, 21 scale and polishes and 6 x-rays … and absolutely no seaside ice-creams consumed by the team (well possibly one or two).
Where required 40 of the patients seen were referred to the Brighter Dental private practice for essential dental treatment.
Commenting on the news Smile Together, Managing Director, Paul Critchley said: “It’s not hard to work out why fisherman rarely get the chance to visit a dentist so when it came to National Smile Week we partnered up with the Seafarers Hospital Society and went out to see them instead. The results were stunning and we managed to those 115 patients in seven different harbourside locations, 70% of which had not seen a dentist in the last five years.”
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