Richmondshire residents wanting to register with an NHS dentist are having to travel to Teesside.
There are currently no dentists in Richmondshire taking on new NHS adults patients and only one is accepting new child NHS patients.
According to the NHS’s website set up to help patients find dental services, adults wanting to register with an NHS dentists could have to travel to Yarm, Stockton or Ripon for an appointment.
This story continues after the adverts:
While there are dentists in Darlington taking on new patients, they will only do so with a referral from another dentist.
There are also no dentists in Richmondshire offering emergency treatment to NHS patients not registered with them.
The only dentists taking on new child NHS patients is Leyburn Dental Practice, although there are dentists in Bedale and Northallerton taking on those under 18.
Catterick county councillor Helen Grant said she was extremely concerned that there was such a shortage of NHS dentists, particularly given that hundreds of new homes were currently being built or planned in the district.
She added: “There are children who haven’t seen a dentist for two years.
“Regularly residents speak about their inability to be registered in any other way than privately.
“It is not uncommon for people to go as far as Stockton in order to find an NHS dentist.
“With all the house building and further expansion of Catterick Garrison the perception is that this can only get worse.”
Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, said he had been contacted by a small number of constituents about the issue and had made representations on their behalf to the Health Minister and NHS England.
Richmondshire Today contacted NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, which is responsible for overseeing NHS dental pr0vision in the region, to find out what was being done about the issue.
In response, Moira Dumma, director of commissioning operations, said: “NHS England is committed to ensuring that all patients that wish to access NHS Dental Services can do so and we are currently reviewing how we can improve access to NHS dentists across our region and looking at how we can introduce additional capacity from within our existing budget.
“We are looking at both in-hours and out of hours’ services and at how people can be better signposted to the most appropriate services. We will be paying particular attention to areas where we know this is particularly challenging.