Nearly 3,000 people visited their dentist for the first time in at least two years thanks to a new initiative that was backed by the Matlock Mercury.
In February this year, NHS Derbyshire County were awarded £180,000 by the Department of Health to increase access for new dental patients into the NHS.
The result was a dental voucher scheme where patients who had not seen a dentist for at least two years were offered the chance to snap up a free examination worth £17 by printing vouchers in the Matlock Mercury.
The scheme ran throughout March and treated some people who hadn’t been to the dentist for over a decade.
Dentist Catarina Ferreira, at Matlock Dental Practice, said: “The majority of patients who we saw were in their 30’s and hadn’t visited a dentist for an average of two to three years.
“In one case a patient had very advanced gum disease, which if left untreated can cause a lot of pain and lead to wider health problems.”
During the scheme, NHS Derbyshire County asked patients taking part why they hadn’t seen a dentist for so long. Thirty-five per cent said it was because they thought they could not get to see an NHS dentist.
Keith Mann, head of primary care for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “We’re delighted that this scheme has been a resounding success, and that so many people were seen and treated while the voucher offer was on.
“It also means thousands are back on track with their dental treatment, and the voucher will save them unnecessary pain and money in the long run.”