14 Apr

Dental charity provides treatment for rough sleepers in Eastbourne

A dental charity has provided homeless people in Eastbourne with free emergency dental care.

A team of volunteers working for Dentaid has been visiting The Salvation Army citadel on Langley Road on a monthly basis and staff have also been out in the mobile unit providing treatment for rough sleepers around the town.

On March 24th, volunteers treated 12 patients at the citadel, tending to severe toothache and dental infections and providing much-needed relief for people who had been struggling to eat or sleep due to intense pain. The team was headed up by dentist, Eileen Swanson and dental nurse, Danielle Caldwell. In addition to providing emergency treatment for infections and dental pain, the duo also carried out oral cancer checks and offered advice about dental hygiene and nutrition. 

Larry is one of many patients who have benefited from free dental treatment provided by Dentaid. Larry slept in a doorway in Eastbourne for a year before being offered access to emergency accommodation. He had experienced severe dental pain for months and even extracted his own teeth before learning about the services offered by the charity. 

Dental problems are common among rough sleepers because they often have poor nutrition, it can be difficult to access dental supplies and maintain good hygiene and there is a higher risk of symptoms linked to drug and alcohol abuse.

Dentaid’s clinics for homeless patients have been funded by East Sussex County Council’s Rough Sleeper’s Initiative. The March clinic was the third session to take place so far and news of the scheme has spread quickly. Demand for services is increasing and volunteer teams are making an incredible difference in the local area. For many people, the sessions offer the only opportunity to see a dentist.