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Teesside University has opened a new dental practice for students, staff and local residents.
The practice is on the ground floor of the new health and sports science building on Victoria Road, Middlesbrough - officially opened by Princess Anne in October.
The practice is led by lead dentist Kerina Lynch, lead dental nurse Michelle Woolridge and dental nurses Gemma Blades and Hayley Hart.
Kerina said: 'Teesside University dental practice will provide high quality dental care with an emphasis on prevention of oral health problems for its patients. The location of the dental practice on campus should make it easily accessible for those who work and study here at the University.
'If the treatment required by a patient is not available on the NHS, some private treatments are available, such as gum shields for sportspeople.
'Teesside University dental practice in Centuria South will be open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.30pm on Friday. For further details about registering with the dental practice ring 01642 738256 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dental training is a new area for the University’s rapidly growing School of Health & Social Care.
Professor Paul Keane, OBE, Dean of the School of Health & Social Care, said: 'A significant reason for the success of our School is our excellent working relationships with service colleagues in health and social care, both in the public and independent sectors.'
He explained that the University was approached three years ago by the local PCTs to consider working with them in accrediting programmes in the field of dental practice. This led to a joint approach to the Strategic Health Authority to incorporate a dental practice and dental education in the new building.
The new dental practice received funding support from the North East Strategic Health Authority.
The first dental students at Teesside University include Andrew Grout, 22, from South Shields and Nuala Dougan, 34, from Guisborough, studying dental hygiene and dental therapy in the new facility.
Andrew, a dental nurse for two years in Sunderland, said: 'I see this course as my next logical step. I want more of a hands on role in dentistry and I’m very pleased to have been accepted on to the degree. I had fixed braces when I was a child and the way I was treated by dental staff gave me confidence and I decided this was a career for me.'
Nuala has been a senior dental nurse at a private dental practice in Stockton and enrolled to develop her career. She said: 'I am very impressed with all the facilities we have to train on. It is much better than I expected and it is great to be among the first students to use the new building.'
Erica Clough, Principal Lecturer in Dental Care, said: 'During the course the dental hygiene and dental therapy students will learn all their practical clinical skills within the University dental treatment clinics. Dental nurse students will go on placements for up to two days a week in local dental practices who are eager to be involved with the education of our students.
'The facilities here are the best I’ve seen for students to work on. It’s a wonderful environment for the students.
'We have 13 phantom heads in one of the new dental labs where the tutor will demonstrate clinical skills transmitted through a video camera to screens at the workstation for each student to follow the practical demonstration. In the dental treatment areas we have 18 dental chairs where students carry out treatment on patients using the very latest equipment.
'Our BSc honours programme is the only one in the North East and I’m delighted with the quality of the students on the first cohort. They seem very determined to succeed and it is a pleasure teaching them in such an excellent university environment.'
Erica said the current portfolio includes a postgraduate course for dental advisers and will expand next year to include a dental technology programme.