Shoppers at a Sheffield superstore are to get the chance to add a trip to the dentist to their list of requirements.
A seven-day-a-week private dental surgery is due to become part of the Sainsbury’s off Archer Road, Millhouses, from October 1.
A deal with The Centre for Dentistry saw surgeries opened in five Sainsbury’s last year. Now council approval has been given for one at ground level in the Millhouses premises.
“The concept is to provide small dental practices within or alongside existing Sainsbury’s superstores which will be open for most (but not all) of the hours the store is trading,” say representatives of the The Centre for Dentistry.
The expected opening hours in Sheffield are 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm Saturday and 11am to 3pm Sunday, by appointment only.
The company says it is aiming to meet a demand from patients who cannot find an NHS dentist - and it is argued that the flexible hours are encouraging people who have not had their teeth checked for a long time.
From evidence from the five existing centres, 55% of patients had not visited a dentist for at least two years, including 25% who had not been for more than five years.
Locating practices in supermarkets is “very effective” in reaching a wide range of people.
“All of the first phase of new dental practices have proved highly successful and have patient numbers ranging from approximately 300 to over 750.”
The council was told that prices are “competitive”, in the region of £35 for a 30 minute initial check, including X-rays, £28 for a follow-on check-up, from £50 for a filling and from £65 for an extraction.
“While the business will have, at its core, traditional dental work, it will eventually provide for the provision of facial aesthetics, cosmetic procedures and products.”
It is proposed to offer procedures for conditions such as acne, eczema and wrinkles.
About ten people are expected to work at the centre, including two dentists, a hygienist and two consultant dermatologists.
The Centre for Dentistry says that since new NHS dental contracts were introduced, fees have effectively been capped and many dentists have opted to go private, compounding a shortage of NHS dentists.
Many patients are opting to use private services because they cannot find an NHS dentist.
“There has been an exponential growth in private dentistry driven in part by the reforms to NHS services coupled with the general limited availability of NHS services.
“By 2020, it is expected that private dentistry services will account for 65% of the dental market.”