Dental Services in primary care, are largely provided in general dental practices. Primary care can include health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, patient education and counselling in a variety of health care settings. A small proportion of dental care is also provided by the Salaried Dental Service in community settings.
In these community settings, there is often a focus on the health of individuals who suffer oral health inequalities and have specific needs, or those in circumstances which affect their ability to access dental services. This could include individuals with mobility problems, residents in care homes, families with English as a second language and people with sensory or other disabilities.
Specialist services are available in many dental practices and in secondary care. Secondary care includes hospital services, or a child development centre. In addition to the eighteen dental hospitals in the UK, many general hospitals have dental departments, typically linked to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery units. Referral from a primary care worker is needed to access secondary care.
The work undertaken by dental health teams in every setting aims to improve general health, wellbeing and personal confidence, in addition to enhancing oral and dental health; these dental team recognise that when a persons teeth are looking good, this can contribute to their greater self-esteem, and improved emotional and mental health.