A DENTIST surgery will be able to care for an extra 8,000 NHS patients with a relaunch of its practice.
The surgery in Station Road, Seaham, already looks after about 4,000 patients, but will boost that number to 12,000 after a deal welcoming new partners to the firm.
Burgess and Hyder Dental Group, which already runs 10 surgeries in County Durham, has signed a partnership with dentist Peter Johnston, who will remain with the surgery.
The change includes a new name for the practice and will lead to an increase in access to dentists and a £50,000 refurbishment of the building, including a new consulting room and waiting area.
Burgess and Hyder has become one of the largest independently-owned providers of NHS dental care in the county.
It already employs 25 dentists, 50 support staff and seven of its practices are based around the Durham City area.
The Seaham base is welcoming parents from across East Durham.
Az Hyder, practice principle for Burgess and Hyder Dental Group, said: “This is an area where there’s a very high need for dental care.
“There’s a lot of disease and a lot of patients who need treatment and we will be able to offer that.”
He said he was delighted to be relaunching the surgery in Seaham and added: “We have many new staff joining us.
“We will be bringing new experienced dentists, oral health educators, hygienists and therapists to Seaham, to ensure that people will be able to be provided with the very best in NHS dental care.
“We will work with our patients closely to make visiting the dentist a comfortable experience and encourage regular visits to the dentist in the future.”
The practice will also pass on oral health messages in schools to encourage chlildren go visit a dentist from a young age.
David Landes, deputy director of public health for NHS County Durham and Darlington said: “Having services within our communities is essential to insure that everybody can get access to high quality dental services.”