Man Pulls Out Bits Of Teeth With Pliers After Struggling To Find A Dentist
A Welsh man was forced to pull out bits of his own teeth after struggling to find a dentist.
The NHS dental system is said to be 'hanging by a thread' as a result of dentists opting for work in private practices, with 6% of Welsh NHS dental posts lost last year, and 83 fewer dentists across health boards than the year prior.
Access to dental care is bordering on impossible, leaving people like Carlton Hill to take drastic measures of their own; on this occasion, he used pliers to pull out bits of his teeth.
Hill, a 28-year-old project coordinator from Gorseinon, Swansea, suffered a chipped molar at the start of the pandemic, at which point he contacted NHS Direct for emergency help. 'A dentist drilled into the tooth and filled it with an antibiotic topped with a loose packing which came out after a day. I was advised to locate a dentist to arrange a permanent fix, but this was the most difficult task,' he said.
'I've been in contact with numerous dentists around Swansea, but none of them are accepting newcomers due to patient size and COVID. Within a couple of months, the crown of that molar shattered completely, leaving just the root behind.'
In agony and dire need of dental care, Hill took action. 'I had to rip bits of tooth off my gums using pliers, but the nerves died off after that so the pain wasn't too bad. When I called NHS direct again seeking urgent help, I was told that the pain wasn't severe enough for a referral to an emergency dentist, because all they could do for me was ease the pain rather than extract the roots,' he said.
Afterwards, Hill even learned how to drain the abscesses that started to form in his mouth. 'Since then, I have had multiple abscesses in that area which I have learnt to drain myself,' he continued.
'Last week on the opposite side of my mouth, another molar cracked, this time leaving a sharp jagged edge cutting up my tongue. I called through to NHS Direct seeking urgent help to again be told that all the dentist will do is ease the pain not fix the issue and I need to seek a dentist despite being turned away everywhere.'
In the end, Hill used a wireless dremel to 'shave down the sharp end of my tooth to avoid cutting open my tongue', but he 'sees no end' to his woes without the help of a professional.
'I am so scared now of how much this will cost me to have fixed when it could have been avoided in the first place. I'm a full-time professional in my field, and my speech and mouth health is detrimental to my life yet I can't get help anywhere to avoid it being destroyed,' he said.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association's General Dental Practice Committee, warned there will be no NHS dentistry without dentists. 'It's a really serious situation and every dentist that is lost or every vacancy for NHS dentistry that remains unfilled affects thousands of patients in terms of care and their ability to access care,' he said.
'Ministers have failed to grasp that we can't have NHS dentistry without NHS dentists. Rather than punishing colleagues, we need a service that recognises and rewards commitment.'
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