Porth Dental Teaching Unit has treated 20,000 patients

Porth Dental Teaching Unit

More than 20,000 patients have been treated at the Porth Dental Teaching Unit since it opened in 2009.

The eight surgery Teaching Unit was the first of its kind in Wales and is home to 10 recently qualified dentists, working in fully equipped dental surgeries while completing a two-year Dental Foundation Training Scheme.

It provides patients with comprehensive care in all aspects of NHS dentistry, using some of the most advanced technology available.

The unit is supported by qualified dental nurses, trainee dental nurses, receptionists and central decontamination sterilising assistants.

Alan Griffiths, Dental Programme Director, said: ''This Dental Training Unit was the first of its kind in Wales and is making a significant difference to the quality of dental training.

“Not only does it provide invaluable training for current and future dentists it has improved access to dentistry in the area”.

Eight dental surgeries providing services

The unit provides newly qualified dentists with the opportunity to begin their careers in an environment where they can gain practical experience and benefit from high-tech operating and learning tools.

Mr Griffiths said: “We are now into our fourth intake of foundation dentists. We have 10 dentists in two groups, with half at the Cardiff dental school and half here.

“There are eight surgeries. One is for emergency patients via the Out of Hours access service, for patients in Cwm Taf who have not seen a dentist or require emergency treatment.

“The other surgery is used by the Minor Oral Surgery Department of Cwm Taf, patients who were on a waiting list to be seen at the Royal Glamorgan or Prince Charles hospitals now come to Porth.

“On two Fridays a month, sedation sessions are held for patients who are extremely anxious about their treatment and cannot tolerate routine procedures.”

The staff includes two salaried dentists working within the emergency service, one senior dentist as a supervisor and the programme director.

On the first floor of the building in Pontypridd Road are lecture and meeting rooms where Cardiff University staff teaches the two-year certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing. There is a Clinical Skill Room with a video link.

Angela Davies, manager at the unit, estimated that it had dealt with more than 20,000 patients since its opening in 2009.

It now has a waiting list for new patients and serves all age groups including children.

“We now have patients choosing to come back to us after their experience here. We try to do our best for all of them,” she said.

Alan Griffiths said: “The amount of services we offer has grown since we opened, providing services which people would have had to go to hospital for in the past, and so reducing waiting lists.”

Anjani Holmes, specialist doctor in oral surgery, said: “Patient satisfaction is the important thing for us. We started seeing patients here to reduce waiting lists in hospitals for extractions. Three or four sessions has grown to seven a week. Whereas the waiting list in hospitals had been up to nine months, we have waiting lists within four to six weeks.”

* Foundation dentist Alyn Morris is pictured treating patient David Jones, assisted by dental nurse Rachael Minty and student nurse Kayleigh Pritchard.

If you see your dentist regularly and you are in pain, ring your usual practice.

If you do not have a dentist and you are in pain, you should ring 01443 680166. There are access sessions in the Dental Teaching Unit, Mondays to Fridays, for all Cwm Taf patients.

If you are in pain after 6.30pm and before 8am weekdays, anytime during weekends or bank holidays, contact Out of Hours on 0300 123 5060.

If you are a housebound patient and you need a home visit please ring 01685 351000. The Domiciliary service is provided by the Community Dental Service.

There are good public transport links with a bus stop outside the unit and a nearby train station.

Car parking is limited and patients are advised not to arrive by car too much in advance of their appointment time.

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