Frequently Asked Questions about The Real Junk Tooth Project

Why are you setting this service up?

The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury identified that a number of their clients were in pain with toothache and were unable to access NHS dental services.  They approached Dentaid to team up to help meet this need.

Who will use this service?

The service is open to all and there are no restrictions on who can access this service.

What dentistry are you providing?

The clinic is designed to relieve pain by creating a temporary solution or removing the tooth.  It is not providing a full dental service or providing regular check-ups.

Who is paying for this?

The service being provided is not free and patients are asked to give whatever they feel they can afford.  The service is manned by volunteers and the equipment is provided by donations and sponsorship.

Why are your charges different to the NHS?

The NHS has charging bands which depend on the work carried out. We are only offering emergency pain relieving services and not the full range of treatments.  The people who are manning the service are volunteering their time and the equipment used is donated.  We are therefore able to offer a cheaper service than the NHS.

Why do all immigrants/ homeless/ etc get preferential treatment/access to dental care when we can’t access NHS dentistry and pay taxes?

The service is open to everyone who can’t access NHS dentistry for whatever reason and are in dental pain. We want to eradicate dental pain irrespective of people’s circumstances. We believe that no-one in the UK should live in dental pain which has a detrimental effect on their general health.

Why can’t the NHS provide this?

The NHS provides a full dental service where you are registered with an NHS dentist. The Real Junk Tooth Project only provides emergency pain relief.

The NHS also provides an emergency dental clinic via the 111 service, however, this service is provided in locations that may not be accessible to all, especially if they are reliant on public transport.  By setting up The Real Junk Tooth service, people in Dewsbury will have access to an emergency dental service to relieve pain.

Why is The Real Junk Tooth Project only in Dewsbury?

The initial pilot scheme is running in Dewsbury at Dewsbury Dental Centre.  It is hoped that, if there is sufficient demand, the project will expand to other locations across the country.  Dentaid is seeking expressions of interest from other dentists who might be willing to volunteer their time. We will also be fundraising and seeking sponsorship.

What can you do for everyone else?

Seeing a dentist regularly is a very important part of your health as this will help maintain your teeth and check for more serious illnesses such as oral cancer.  We therefore encourage everyone to register with a dentist.  This clinic is for people who find it difficult to register with a dentist, although we will not turn anyone away from the clinic who is in dental pain.

Why can you only offer extractions?

The clinic is designed to relieve pain and therefore removing the source of the problem is the quickest and easiest way to do this.  The clinic is not providing treatment to save teeth as that service should be provided by seeing a regular dentist.

Why do I have to pay for extractions on the NHS but I don’t have to with you?

We ask for a donations for the treatment provided and the service is not for free.  We understand that some people find it difficult to meet the NHS charge for extracting teeth and therefore we ask for a donation to help cover the cost rather than a set charge.

Are you implying we are a third rate nation with a third rate health service?

Our health system is one of the best in the world, especially when more serious conditions are identified.   This service is to help people and the NHS with their dental care and to relieve toothache.  The Five Year Future View produced by NHS England discusses the NHS having models which work with charities while addressing training requirements and the needs of the most vulnerable people in our society.

What do the politicians think of this, isn’t it their job?

This is a pilot project and we hope that it will be well supported by local councils and health authorities.  We are not criticising NHS dental provision just meeting a need that has been identified in the Dewsbury area.

I thought everyone was entitled to free NHS treatment and unwaged and homeless people got free dental care?

They do but that doesn’t mean they are able to access it.  It might be that they are unable to travel to surgeries especially if they are reliant on public transport. Some people might not know they are even eligible for NHS treatment.  Also not all NHS practices are able to take more NHS patients onto their books.  This service runs alongside existing NHS services and is another option for people who are suffering dental pain.

What is Dentaid?

Dentaid Dentaid is a charity that sends teams of volunteer dental professionals and donated equipment to many of the world’s poorest countries. The charity is dedicated to eradicating dental pain whatever people’s circumstances might be. The Real Junk Tooth Project is its first UK initiative.

What is The Real Junk Food Project?

The Real Junk Food Project takes unsold food from supermarkets and restaurants – that would usually be thrown away and wasted – and gives it to people in the local community who would otherwise go hungry on a pay as you feel basis.

How can I help?

Donations can be made at

To volunteer your time email