September 12, 2008 / 12:52 PM / 10 years ago

Add a dental check-up to the weekly shopping list

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Next time you visit your local supermarket, a quick dental check-up could be just another item on your weekly shopping list.

The owner of a celebrity dental clinic in Britain has teamed up with British retailer Sainsbury’s to offer consumers tooth care in the supermarket aisle from next week.

The clinics will offer shoppers check-ups from 16 pounds ($28.17) and the man behind the move Lance Knight believes it can ‘revolutionize’ dentistry across the country.

“It is all about putting the patient first and providing them with a service that’s straight forward and at the right price. We intend to open from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. offering the public seven day access to the dentist making it more convenient for them,” Knight told Reuters.

He said cost of seeing a private dentist and the difficulty of finding a state healthcare funded one often means that dental care is something that people put off.

“Our aim is to make the service available to many more Sainsbury’s customers across the country,” Knight said.

The first clinic will open in a Sainsbury’s store near the northern English city of Manchester and more could follow.

Going private can be an expensive business, a porcelain crown will set you back 700 pounds and a dental implant can cost upwards of 2,000 pounds per tooth according to research conducted by the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

All of this comes amidst growing numbers of people willing to leave Britain to get their teeth sorted.

Hungarian Dental Travel takes 25 to 30 patients a month abroad to seek assistance despite the British Dental Association saying there are over 600 more National Health Service (NHS) dentists in Britain compared to last year.

“What we provide is a service which is both affordable and accessible and every patient has an opportunity to speak thoroughly with their dentist before the procedure,” Hungarian Dental Travel manager Chris Hall told Reuters.

Food and grocery industry research firm IGD estimates that more than 30 percent of items sold in supermarkets are non-food related including CD’s, DVD’s and many electrical goods.

Dentistry may just be the latest in that non-grocery-related list of products and services that your local supermarket sells.

“There is a shortage of dental practices in the UK and the launch of this new service goes some way to providing local people with greater access to dental advice and a range of procedures,” Sainsbury’s Professional Services head David Gilder said.

Latest figures shows that there has been nearly a drop of a million people seeing an NHS dentist from 28.1 million in April 2006 to 27.3 million in December 2007 according to official statistics from the NHS Information Centre.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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