Spring Update at the Deveron Dental Centre

As you will no doubt already be aware, there is a national shortage of dentists in Scotland, and it is very difficult to recruit dentists at the moment, and it is especially difficult to attract dentists to work in more rural areas such as Huntly.  To try and keep our practice running, we are a part of the Scottish Vocational Training Programme, which means we mentor new graduates through their first year in practice, and it also means that we can guarantee that we will have dentists working at the practice.

This year, we have Sophie and Tanya working with us, and they have been enjoying their time at the Deveron Dental Centre so much, that they have both agreed to stay on at the practice on a permanent basis at the end of their training year.  The team is just delighted with this news, and I’m sure our patients will be too.  Having them both here, along with Diane, who has been with us now for 5 years will be an enormous help to us, and it’ll hopefully mean we can start reducing waiting times again for appointments.  We will still take on a new graduate dentist in the summer as usual, which means from August 2024, we’ll have 5 dentists working at the practice, along with our Dental Therapist Steph.

Our nurses have been working hard as usual behind the scenes.  Kelly has recently passed an award in Dental and Medical Reception Skills, which recognizes her exceptional ability to run our Reception desk smoothly.  She is also currently working towards her Radiography Qualification, which means she will be able to take xrays of our patients.  We’re very proud of how hard working and dedicated Kelly is to the practice.

Ellie and Leah have both been working hard since they joined the practice two years ago, and passed their Dental Nursing Qualification. We’re very proud of them, and this means all our dental nurses at the practice are now fully qualified, with a minimum of two years experience at the practice.

Natalie and Agata recently attended a first aid training course and are now our qualified first aid trainers for the practice.  Hopefully we’ll never have to put their skills to use though!

Michelle, Nicole, Natalie and Kirsty have all recently completed their Childsmile training, which means that we now also have 5 qualified Childsmile nurses at the practice!

Childsmile is part of a government initiative to improve Oral Health, and we’re very passionate about this at the Deveron Dental Centre.  We will now be asking every child, along with their parent or guardian to visit one of our Childsmile nurses at every 6 month check up appointment.  We’ll be giving totally different advice at each Childsmile appointment, so it’s really important that you attend each one, as you’ll definitely learn something new every time!

We’ve tried to make our advice easy to follow, so that your children will be keen to listen and learn, but we are also trying to make our advice as realistic as possible, as we know it would be impossible to live in a sugar free world.  So, instead of telling you to cut out sugar completely, we’ll make suggestions for how you can swap high sugar snacks to lower sugar ones.  We’ll also point out hidden sugars in snacks that you’d be forgiven for thinking would be healthy.  We’ll also give advice about toothbrushing, and the hope is that we can all work together to try and keep our mouths as healthy and decay free as possible.

Morven has recently been re-elected on to the Scottish Dental Practice Executive Committee, which means herself and a team of 6 dentists regularly meet with the Chief Dental Officer for Scotland to discuss issues affecting NHS Dentistry in Scotland. I am passionate about this role as I want to ensure that we can continue to offer the best NHS service we can.

The Scottish Government recently provided NHS dentists with a new model of care, which was introduced to the practice on the 1st November 2023. Don’t panic, as I said already, we’re passionate about ensuring we continue to offer the full range of NHS dental treatments available to all our patients, but we feel it is important that we can also offer private options for any treatments that are unavailable on the NHS.  It’s important that you understand that accepting a private treatment will not affect your NHS registration in any way.

One of the key changes introduced is that NHS adult patients are only entitled to receive a check up every 1-2 years rather than every 6 months.  Your dentist will carry out at risk assessment at every check up appointment to decide how often we feel we need to see you.

If you’d prefer to still visit the dentist every 6 months, you’re most welcome to book in to see us for a one off private check up, without affecting your NHS registration, and the cost of this is £30.

NHS check ups are still free for all patients, and we’re still able to see children under the age of 18 for a check up every 6 months.

Another key change is that all emergency appointments carry a charge of £15.68 (unless you are an exempt patient), and some other treatments which were previously free now also carry a charge (for example repairs to dentures and recementing a crown or a bridge).

The cost of most NHS dental treatments has now also increased for those patients who pay for their treatment, and please be aware, the new prices have been set by the Scottish Government.  We will always give you an estimate of the cost of treatment before we begin.

I’m really sorry, but we’re no longer able to guarantee that you’ll be able to see our Dental Therapist Steph for your NHS scaling, instead, this will most likely be carried out by one of our dentists during your check up appointment

We introduced Airflow last year as an alternative, more gentle oral hygiene treatment option to keep your teeth clean, and it has been extremely popular.  Your dentist will discuss the cost and benefits of Airflow with you during your appointment, and if you’d like to book in for this treatment, please speak to our reception team.

We appreciate that our waiting times at the moment are much longer than we would like and we are doing our very best to reduce our waiting times where we can by offering extra clinics where we can.

Unfortunately, last month, 20 hours of surgery time went to waste, which is extremely frustrating for everyone.

We are experiencing a high number of patients arriving late for their appointments at the moment. We will always do our best to see patients if they arrive late, but we can’t always guarantee its possible, as we have to consider how a patient’s late arrival will affect the smooth running of the rest of our day.  While we are very grateful to you all for having the courtesy to let us know when you will be arriving late, we would request that all our patients always aim to arrive in good time for their appointments.  Patients arriving late for their appointment is one of the main reasons we end up running late each day.

We are also experiencing a high number of patients cancelling their appointment at short notice, and we then struggle to fill the space, meaning surgery time goes to waste.  It would help us to reduce waiting times if we can ask our patients to give us at least 24 hours notice for cancelling an appointment, so that we have time to find someone else to take your appointment slot.  And if you can’t make your appointment for any reason, please do take the time to text, call or email us.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation and hopefully we can work together to reduce waiting times for everyone.

Our short notice cancellation list is working really well, and we’ll always give you the option of being added to this list, and we’ll always do our very best to contact you with an earlier appointment if we can.  Please make sure you’ve given us your up to date mobile and email address as this is the quickest way for us to contact you.

We’re being inundated with enquiries to register as a new NHS patient of our  practice, and if you know someone who would like to join, please recommend that they visit our website www.deverondentalcentre.com and click on the “BOOK AN APPOINTMENT” button at the top left of the screen.

If there are any available new patient registration appointments available, they will be able to select a time and book in online.

If there are no new patient registration appointments available, it will say “Sorry, there are no available times.  Please contact the Deveron Dental Centre“.  If this is the case, they should keep checking our website regularly, as we release new patient registration appointment slots every day, at random times through the day, up to 30 days in advance.

We appreciate how difficult it is to register with an NHS dentist in Grampian at the moment, and we can assure you that we are doing our very best to register as many new NHS patients as possible, but we also need to ensure we do not affect the service we provide to our existing NHS patients.

And finally, Morven’s nurse Kirsty is heading off on Maternity leave in March, and she will re join the team in February 2025 on a part time basis.  We would like to wish her all the very best for the birth of her first baby, and we know she will be an amazing mum, but I have to say, we are all going to miss her terribly!