Getting more children the dental care they need sooner | Our news

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Getting more children the dental care they need sooner

Thousands of children suffering from painful teeth problems across London will get speedier access to dental surgery, thanks to the NHS’s new Project Tooth Fairy.

From today, a dedicated new surgical centre at The Royal London Dental Hospital is treating children and young people from across the capital who have been waiting too long for operations to remove problem teeth or perform multiple fillings.

The hospital plans to do more than 1,000 extra operations over the next six months, using the first tranche of an £11 million investment by NHS England to target children and young people whose planned treatment was delayed by the pandemic.

The latest London figures show thousands of under-16s waiting more than a year for dental surgery, with hundreds waiting more than two years. Project Tooth Fairy is designed to increase capacity and therefore reduce these waiting times, prioritising those who have been waiting the longest.

Dr Mamta Vaidya, deputy medical director of The Royal London Hospital, said: “Thousands of children and young people across the capital are in pain because of problems with their teeth. We want to help them.

“By taking a pan-London approach to tackling a pan-London problem, by hiring more staff, and by creating a bespoke clinical space, we have created a way to do this – and to do it sooner” she continues.

Joe McQuillan, clinical director for The Royal London Dental Hospital adds, “Across Barts Health, paediatric dentistry has the longest waiting lists of any speciality, a problem which has been compounded by the pandemic. We currently have nearly 200 paediatric patients waiting over two years for their dental surgery, and over 600 more waiting a year or more.

"That’s why we want to take the lead in solving the problem and getting these children treated sooner. This new surgical centre, which will be treating children referred in from across London, will provide the extra resource and capacity needed to carry out more dental operations sooner, something these patients need urgently.”  

Project Tooth Fairy, a collaboration between Barts Health NHS Trust, the Paediatric Dentistry Managed Clinical Network and the North and South Thames Paediatric Networks, marks the first time a collaboration of this kind has happened to address the issue of paediatric dental waiting times.

For more information on Project Tooth Fairy visit our paediatric dental webiste

If you would like to work as part of the Project Tooth Fairy team please email bartshealth.toothfairy@nhs.net

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  1. Jackie Sullivan Wednesday, 20 October 2021 at 08:45 AM

    Congratulations to Joe, Kevin, Mamta and the wider team for delivering this facility which is a major step forward for Children's dental services across London. Thank you all. Jackie

  2. Andrew Attfield Wednesday, 20 October 2021 at 11:20 AM

    Fantastic to see this initiative. Poor dental care is a typical characteristic of health in low income and excluded communities so improving access to care is vital.