South East Wales

Dental care boosted by Cynon Valley teaching unit

A new dental teaching unit in the south Wales valleys is hoping to increase access to treatment in an area with poor dental health.

The Cardiff and Vale University health board located the unit in Mountain Ash as an estimated 10,000 people in the Cynon Valley do not have a dentist.

They will be able to have a check up and any treatment needed free of charge under supervised trainee dentists.

The board says it will give students valuable experience.

Once their course of treatment is complete local residents will be advised how to go about getting regular check ups with local dentists.

Eighteen treatment booths will be provided at the site in the new Ysbyty Cwm Cynon.

Peter Ash, the consultant in charge, says patients will be able to receive any aspect of dentistry which would normally be carried out in general practice.

"We've come to this area because we've identified that there is a need for dental care.

"By bringing the unit here we're bringing treatment to those who need it in their own home area.

"There's no charge for any of the treatment we'll be carrying out here."

Fifth year students from Cardiff School of Dentistry will be able to develop their practical skills in the centre with their tutors at their side.

Mr Ash says it will be a valuable learning experience.

"The benefits for the students is immense. They're coming out in their final year.

"We're acting as a transition between when they have done their initial, more academic years and when they leave us qualified and go into the outside world.

Available spaces

"They have a year here to hone their skills and get as much experience as they can."

The Cardiff and Vale University Health board has been running a similar unit in Cardiff for the last nine years.

Mobile dental screening clinics have already been held locally within the Cynon Valley to encourage people to make use of the new facilities.

There are still spaces for those who want dental treatment from the students.

The dental unit is the first part of the new £70m hospital in Mountain Ash to be opened.

It is funded by the Welsh government and run in partnership between Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Cardiff and Vale UHB, and Cardiff University.

Later this year the hospital will have more than 120 beds in six wards.

Mental health services, rehabilitation and radiology will also be located in the building.

It will also host outpatient services, a minor injury unit and the local GP out-of-hours service.

There will also be provision for drug and alcohol services as well as a base for health visitors, school nurses and district nurses.

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