Teeth, eyes and feet


Visiting the dentist

Few people like going to the dentist, but keeping your teeth and gums in check is a key way to stay healthy. These are some of the ways you can reduce any anxiety you may have about going to the dentist.

  • Try to find an understanding dentist. You could ask any friends or family locally if they know of a dentist who is likely to be more understanding of your anxiety about dentists.
  • Let the dentist know that you are worried before the appointment.
  • You could make an appointment for earlier on in the day so you do not have the whole day to feel worried.
  • You could take someone along for support, such as a carer, friend or relative.

What if I don’t have a dentist?

It’s really important that you have access to someone who can care for your teeth and gums and we recommend that you register with your local dentist as soon as you can.

To find details of your local dentist either you or someone you know can visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or you can contact NHS Direct on 111.

A visit to the optician

It is also important to have your eyes checked to make sure they are healthy. You should have a check up every two years (unless you’ve been told to go more often).

To find details of your local optician, either you or someone you know can visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or you can contact NHS Direct on 111.

Will I have to pay?

Free NHS dental treatment and eye tests, glasses and contact lenses are available to people who are on certain benefits. If someone is on a low income, they may also be able to claim for help with these NHS charges.

Further information about help with NHS charges is available at http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/help-with-health-costs.aspxor by contacting the Health Cost advice line on 0845 850 1166. You can check this before you go to the dentist or optician.

If you have diabetes, it is important to get a special check of the back of your eye (known as the retina) once a year. This is because diabetes can damage this area. If any damage is not picked up, it can lead to problems with your sight.

These yearly checks are different from standard eye tests and are free on the NHS. If you have diabetes but are not up to date with these checks, then you should speak to your GP about this.

For details of local dentists and opticians, contact NHS choices at www.nhs.uk or by phone 111.

What about my feet?

If you have diabetes then it’s really important to take care of your feet. Diabetes can cause poor circulation and reduced feeling in the feet.

This can cause some people with diabetes to get an infection around one of their toenails without even realising it. Regular foot checks make sure this doesn’t happen.

If you have diabetes or any concerns about your feet why not tell your GP who can refer you to a foot specialist, sometimes called a chiropodist or a podiatrist.

Need more advice?

If you need more advice or information you can contact our Advice and Information Service.
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