DENTISTS from a Whitchurch practice have urged parents to take up the offer of free appointments for children under 12 after a first set when unused.

Last week, Green-End practice SpaDental said it offered 36 free dental appointments to children in that age group, with staff admitting they expected to be inundated with requests.

But practice manager Sheilagh Cooper said they were surprised that just 15 children attended the NHS appointments, at a time when they say they there is a perceived crisis for dental healthcare.

She said: "After all, the media is full of stories about ‘dental deserts’ and the ‘health care crisis’.

"But only 15 children attended NHS funded appointments, meaning that 21 children missed out on an opportunity to see a dentist at no cost to their families.

"There is good news though – the opportunity is not lost.

"SpaDental Whitchurch is opening its doors again for children under 12 years of age on Tuesday, August 16 and Thursday, August 18."

Staff at the practice said feedback they received for the dedicated 'Children's Day, was full of praise, including 'excellent service', 'very professional, very calm and caring with children'.

Dentist Adi Etugo was also singled out for praise from feedback – with his care towards youngsters – and he wants, as a father, he wanted to make it safe and accessible.

He said: " It helps children feel comfortable and teaches them why caring for their teeth is important."

There is no cost to parents for their child’s examination.

Moreover, if a child requires further dental treatment, such as a filling or fluoride painting, Adi arranges follow-up appointments funded by the NHS.

Sheilagh added: "Always a family-friendly practice, SpaDental Whitchurch is primarily private, with a small contingent of NHS patients.

"In line with government initiatives to reduce the number of young children admitted to hospital with dental decay, SpaDental is taking positive steps to support the oral health of children in Whitchurch and the surrounding area.

"What greater gift can a parent give a child than healthy teeth?

"Access to an NHS dental appointment is a treasure.

"We hope readers can help spread the word about this excellent opportunity for children to benefit from NHS dental care in Whitchurch."

Parents or guardians can apply for an NHS funded appointment at