When we developed our fully-accessible Harleigh Road Dental Centre in Bodmin we incorporated facilities previously unavailable in the county including a bariatric chair and wheelchair tipper. Now, thanks to Smile Together Non-Executive Director Mark Johnstone, we have acquired a single-surgery mobile dental unit to help us reach further into our local communities.

For our award-winning Smiles at Sea initiative, which sees us visiting harboursides across Cornwall and Devon delivering free dental treatment to fishermen and their dependent family members, we’ve traditionally hired a mobile dental unit from our good friends and fellow employee-owned dental CIC CDS. Earlier this year Mark, who is responsible for dental service provision in Kent, approached us with the offer of a mobile dental unit that was surplus to their requirements. Needless to say we were thrilled as it’s been something on our wish list since our inception in 2016 and made this unbudgeted purchase post haste!

Thanks to Fuel and No2TheSame, our mobile dental unit is now very clearly branded Smile Together and is ready to go for our Smiles at Sea 2022 tour which kicks off on 26th September and runs until 7th October 2022. Whilst our priority is to treat fishermen who rarely get to see a dentist due to the demands of their work, this two-week tour includes a couple of days supporting Cornwall Health for Homeless with their integrated healthcare pop ups.

Demand for our emergency and referral dental services is at an all-time high, and access to dentistry in Cornwall, particularly for vulnerable and hard to reach groups, is especially challenging. Being able to take our own mobile dental unit into the heart of local communities will enable us to make even more of a difference to those who need us most, underpinning our mission of tackling oral health inequality.

Unsurprisingly, as a certified B Corporation and employee-owned CIC, our colleagues have a genuine voice in our business and directly influence the impact we have both socially and environmentally. Collectively we have great ambitions for how we might use our mobile dental unit but of course funding remains a perpetual challenge. If you have ideas for how we might work in partnership, to make every contact count in supporting more people across Cornwall with our mobile dental unit, please contact us at smiletogether.marketing@nhs.net – we’d love to hear from you.

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