Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has called a new mobile dental service, due to visit the Island in March, a "very welcome step forward".

Mr Seely said: “There is more to do, but this will help those Islanders who are struggling the most to access a dentist.”

Run by the NHS and Dentaid The Dental Charity, it will provide dental check-ups, oral cancer screening and emergency treatment, including fillings and extractions, plus preventative care for children, dentures, emergency care and oral health advice. 

Appointments are required and are available for those who are eligible.

Hundreds of Islanders are without access to an NHS dentist after Covid-19 pressures and new rules on living and working in the UK began to bite.

In March 2023, the Association of Dental Groups issued a warning, after a report by the Nuffield Trust found the number of EU-trained dentists registering in the UK had halved since the referendum and “has never recovered”.

The report also said the level of dentists in the UK, relative to population, is lower than any EU country - adding Germany and Italy have about 70 per cent more.

There were already significant backlogs for appointments, after pressure built on services during the pandemic.

Mr Seely said today's mobile dental service announcement is part of a wider initiative to improve NHS dental capacity on the Island.

He said: “I want to ensure that the Island receives its fair share of the services included in the new NHS plan".

He highlighted measures including temporary payments to Island NHS dental practices to increase treatments and the recommissioning of contracts for NHS dentists on the Island, to increase NHS capacity.

On February 7, the government announced of a new NHS dentistry plan.

Supported nationwide, by £200m of government funding, NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15-£50 (depending on treatment need), to treat around a million new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more.

There will be higher payments for treating those requiring complex dental work.

The plan will also see the government roll out a new ‘Smile For Life’ programme which will see parents and parents-to-be offered advice for baby gums and milk teeth, with the aim that by the time children go to school, every child will see tooth brushing as a normal part of their day.

The government says it will also roll out a potentially controversial water fluoridation programme, subject to consultation, in parts of England, first expanding across the North East. 

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Health Secretary, Mr Seely has asked how the NHS Dental Recovery Plan will positively affect dentistry on the Isle of Wight - and when those changes will take place.