A BOURNEMOUTH dentist has hit out at the ‘flawed’ NHS dental system saying the fast-paced environment is deskilling professionals.

Zak Kara, co-founder of Smile Stories, has been qualified in dentistry for 15 years but left NHS practices after believing he was losing his hard-earned skills.

“I moved to Australia and realised I could do dentistry the way it was taught in the textbooks,” said Zak.

“Here, you can only do treatments that the system allows you to do, by only funding certain ones.”

Zak said NHS practices are simply “cheap-rated private dentistry,” that need to top up their funds with private treatments.

He said clinics offering NHS treatments are “not a charity” and cannot survive on just government funding.

He said: “The most key thing about NHS dentistry is that people are attracted to it because that is what they are used to.

“Every single practice is private.

“There is no such thing as a government operated dental building, it is just private practices that have chosen to sign a contract with the NHS with conditions and limits to the number of patients.”

Zak added that money saved by the government when NHS practices close, is “re-swallowed” instead of being ringfenced into NHS dental care.

Four years ago Zak, and co-founder Gareth Edwards, decided to step away from the government system and chose to create “relationships not transactions” with patients.

“It is that feeling of care, that patients are not just on a conveyor belt.

“Dentistry is quite an intimate thing, people are sensitive about their mouth.”

Smile Stories, based in Wimborne Road in Winton, is a private dental clinic that looks after “normal people”, with Zak adding private treatment is not just for the elites.

He said private dental treatment can be affordable with treatment plans. 

Zak and Gareth created Smile Stories with the aim to remove the stigma and fear around stereotypical “white coat dentists”.

Zak added: “One of the reasons why people are scared to come to the dentist is because they think they are going to be told off.

“If someone tells me they haven’t been to the dentist in five years, I tell them that I understand and know that life can be busy.

“We look at moving forward not into the past.”